It’s been a very long time coming, with two attempts to do it, but it seems that Air India will finally join Star Alliance on 11th July 2014.
At Star Alliance’s Chief Executive Board meeting, Air India’s membership of the airline group was approved. This will make Air India the first Indian airline to join one of the traditional global alliances.
This membership will make Air India the 27th current member of Star Alliance.
The entry into Star Alliance has been a long one, with the airline due to join in 2010, but was beset with issues that forced a suspension of the integration in August 2011.
The process begun again in December 2013.
Jeffrey Goh of Star Alliance states
“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”.
Air India will add an extra 400 flights a day and 35 new destinations to the Star Alliance network, operating a mixture of wide body and narrow body aircraft, including the Airbus A320 family, Airbus A330, Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
More importantly for frequent flyers will be the reciprocal agreements that will come into play, with members of Air India’s Flying Return club will be able to earn and redeem miles across Star Alliance airlines. Elite members will be able to access lounges and premium services that Star Alliance Gold offers.
Similarly, people in other Star Alliance programmes will be able to earn and redeem miles and access premium services from 11th July 2014.
This membership has been a very long time coming for Air India. As the market changes and new demands come, airlines need to adapt. Hopefully, the membership will give Air India a much-needed boost as foreign investment in airlines comes to India – and increase the pressure.