A team of Star Alliance, which has decided to restart Air India's integration process suspended since 2011, will arrive here on Wednesday to assess the steps needed to be taken by the national carrier to blend its network with that of the global airlines' grouping.
"A Star Alliance Team will arrive here on December 18. They will carry out gap analysis. I am working on a very tight schedule on a day-to-day basis. The entire process is likely to take three-four months but it will depend on what they would require," Air India CMD Rohit Nandan said on arrival from Vienna today.
The team will be staying here for a couple of days to carry out gap analysis.
Gap analysis is a technique that businesses use to determine the steps needed to be taken to move from the current state to the desired future state. In this case, it would be blending Air India's network with that of the 28- member Star Alliance.
"The re-integration process will begin now. There have been some fresh requirements brought into the structure since 2011. We will have to do a gap analysis to integrate with the system," Air India officials said.
The integration process involves integration of the airline's flight network, booking systems, matching of frequent flyer programmes and access to lounges in home countries of the airline, among other things.
Such integration would enable seamless travel by a passenger from a foreign destination to a domestic destination, by switching flights and airlines which are members of the alliance.
Passengers would get a wider choice of flights, earn frequent flyer mileage points and gain access to over 1,000 alliance members' lounges while flying on the entire Star Alliance network.
The network offers 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. Among its 28 members are airlines like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, South African Airways, Austrian, THAI, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
The integration process is likely to be completed in about three months, Air India sources said.
Industry analysts feel that Air India's entry into Star Alliance would give stiff competition to the Gulf-based carriers which are practically dominating the burgeoning Indian market through their own large networks and tie-ups with Indian carriers.
In a statement from Vienna, Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab said his airline grouping "has long held the opinion that