At its Chief Executive Board meeting held in London on June 23, the CEOs of the Star Alliance network unanimously approved the membership of Air India, clearing the way for the national carrier to become the first Indian airline to join a global airline alliance.
The integration teams at Air India, Star Alliance and its member carriers will now complete the last necessary work in order to ensure that Air India can offer all Star Alliance customer benefits from July 11 onwards.
Commenting on the decision, Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance COO said, “We restarted the re-integration with Air India in December last year and just half a year later we are ready to confirm the official joining date. We look forward to welcoming Air India passengers to our global network and offering them our Alliance benefits. At the same time we are pleased to be providing our existing customers improved access to a region which includes the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market.”
Rohit Nandan, Air India chairman and managing director said, “Air India worked hard to meet the exacting expectations prior to joining and today, we are elated to be inducted into the Star Alliance family. It is indeed an honour and privilege to be the first airline from India to join the alliance. We eagerly look forward to extending the benefits and privileges of Star Alliance to passengers from July 11.”
Air India will add a total of 400 daily flights and 35 new destinations in India to the Alliance network. The biggest growth will come from its home market which is currently being served by 13 Star Alliance members flying to 10 destinations and holding a 13% market share. Bringing Air India into the equation not only adds more airports, but also increases the Alliances market share in India to 30%.
Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns program and those of the existing member carriers will also become effective on July 11.
Pictured, top management officials from Star Alliance commemorate the Alliance’s decision to admit Air India as its 27th member airline: (l-r) Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu and Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab. (CNW Group/STAR ALLIANCE)