AIR India appears set to fulfill its longstanding ambition of joining Star Alliance now that alliance members have unanimously endorsed its entry.
Star Alliance member airlines CEOs will meet in London on June 23 for a formal vote, confirmed Mark Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance. “The precise date of joining has yet to be decided, but it will be in July,” he said, adding that ensuring Air India’s hardware system is integrated with Star Alliance's comprised most of the remaining work.
Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director, Air India, said: “Air India has completed 45 of the 64 requirements already and the rest will be completed in May.”
After joining the alliance, India’s national flag carrier will adjust its service schedule to align its flight times with that of the 13 Star Alliance members that serve Indian routes.
Nandan said Air India has asked IATA to conduct customer satisfaction surveys to monitor the airline’s service improvements. “We are being tested against the quality of the best 16 airlines in the world and have started to show improvement.”
Air India’s previous bid to join the alliance fell through because the carrier did not meet the minimum joining conditions that were contractually agreed to in December 2007 (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 1, 2011).
On the other hand, SriLankan Airlines was officially admitted into Oneworld alliance on May 1, becoming the first carrier from the Indian subcontinent to join a global airline alliance (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 10, 2014).