Star Alliance junks Air India

Plagued with a gamut of problems, Air India's cup of woes are now indeed flowing over with  an international grouping of airlines, the Star Alliance, dealing it the latest blow by refusing to induct the flag carrier into its fold. The grouping said it was "suspending" the national carrier's integration into its network.

India's ministry of civil aviation said the move was "unexpected and disappointing".

The global network said a decision to suspend Air India's integration with the alliance was "jointly" taken by 27 member airlines as the national carrier "has not met the minimum joining conditions that were contractually agreed in December 2007".

Joining the alliance would have enabled the ailing carrier to add depth to its route network in the international sector by providing passengers last mile connectivity in foreign countries, thereby making considerable savings.

Air India was given a deadline of 31 July to meet all standards and criteria to join the Star Alliance network.

Star Alliance statement said, "The decision to suspend has received subsequent confirmation by the Star Alliance chief executive board," which met on Sunday.