State-owned carrier Air India is expected to now formally join the world's largest airline partnership Star Alliance in July this year. The integration had been in discussion for several years, but had been put on hold as the debt-laden airline turnaround operations.
Air India will complete all the requirements in May, it's CMD Rohit Nandan said, following which in June the CEOs of the 26 Star Alliance partner airlines will meet in London to give an "endorsement vote" for Air India.
"The process of integration started in December this year. We are working in a very focused way and 45 of the 64 requirements have been completed while the remaining is under way. We expect the benefits to come in immediately," Nandan said, while adding that the airline has also started a 'customer service improvement plan' under the guidance of Star Alliance.
Mark F Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance said that he sees a very different airline in Air India under the new management which is turning around operations. "A bit of IT work and testing is left for seamless integration of Air India operations with the other members. India has been a subject of conversation within Star Alliance for quite sometime and we are trying to make sure this happens".