Air India wakes up to benefits of membership with Star Alliance

Mumbai: In a desperate bid to boost business and passenger load factors Air India's (AI) holding company, the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL), is fast tracking plans to become  a working member of the global airline alliance - Star Alliance.

NACIL sources pointed out that membership in the alliance will allow AI to partner top 21 airlines of the world. In all, these airlines operate 17,000 daily flights to 916 destinations in 160 countries.

It is expected that membership with the alliance will see AI's passenger load factor go up seven per cent on an average, as membership of the alliance allows member airlines to carry each other's passengers domestically and internationally.

For August, Air India reported a passenger load factor of 59.8 per cent, flying close to 6 lakh passengers.

Industry experts say membership will allow AI to increase domestic traffic, thanks to code-sharing agreements between member airlines.

The restructuring plan tabled by the Air India management last month projected enhanced revenues for the airline to the tune of Rs135 crore per month, mainly through route rationalisation and code-share arrangements with Star Alliance members.