The integration process for Air India into global airline group Star Alliance is proceeding smoothly, said a senior executive of Frankfurt-based Star Alliance on Thursday.
“I can say with full confidence that the integration process (of Air India) into Star Alliance is on track and working by,” said Christian Klick, VP, Corporate Office, Star Alliance Services.
Executives of state-owned Air India had earlier told FE that the airline was expected to complete its integration into the alliance by summer – by May-June – this year.
Post its induction into the alliance, Air India will become the 29th member of Star Alliance, which is also the world's largest airline partnership with almost $200 billion in combined revenues.
Klick added that Star Alliance and India's flag carrier have agreed on a joint implementation to get several parameters like IT systems and contracts (for economic transactions) working in a specified time.
“There are a number of parameters that needs to be implemented when a new carrier like Air India come on board of Star Alliance. All these things are taking some time,” he said explaining the flag carrier's integration process.
During December 2007, Star Alliance had accepted Air India as its future member, only to halt the integration process in July 2011 citing that the airline couldn't meet some of the alliance's required parameters.
“Air India joining the Alliance will complete about 30 months of hard work. Joining the alliance will enhance our brand value and provide more connectivity to our passengers,” Rohit Nandan, CMD of Air India, had told at a press conference in Delhi on January.
The state-owned carrier had also announced its plans to retrain over 8,000 front-line personnel, as a part of the process, over the next few months for a more premium customer experience that matches Star Alliance's standards.
Air India's integration into a global alliance, a first for a domestic airline, will help it boost revenues by increasing global connectivity through partner airlines. It will also be able to improve its share of business travelers by gaining access to over 1,000 Star Alliance lounges and lower fuel costs by doing bulk purchases through Star Alliance tie-ups. The country's flag carrier will also be able to fly on a network of 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries and redeem air miles on airlines such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, US Airways, United Airlines and others.
This time around, post the integration of