Air India all set to fly into Star Alliance

Air India will soon become a member of the Star Alliance, a global network of 28 airlines, after chief executives of the Star Alliance member airlines decided unanimously to recommence the integration process with Air India (See: Star Alliance lifts suspension on Air India).

On Friday, the alliance invited Air India to join its network, following a meeting of CEOs in Vienna. The process is expected to be completed in three months.

With its induction into the global alliance Air India's passengers will be able to travel seamlessly with other member airlines of the Star Alliance. Thus, a traveller buying an Air India ticket from, say, Pune or Nagpur, will be able to travel to New York and onwards on a US Airways other flight seamlessly.

At present, since Air India is not a member of the Star Alliance, passengers would have to buy two tickets for such travel, resulting in higher travel costs.

''Star Alliance has long held the opinion that India is such an important aviation market that it should be fully represented in the Alliance,'' said Mark Schwab, Star Alliance CEO. ''However, the level of change in the domestic market in recent years did not make it easy for an airline to become an alliance member.''

''The market in India is now showing signs of stabilisation. Today we see an Air India, which has successfully completed its merger with Indian Airlines and is building up a new fleet that forms the basis for a much improved level of service. This is why we believe the time is now right to recommence the integration process,'' he added.

''Today is an historic day for Air India. The decision to recommence the Star Alliance integration process will be beneficial for both sides. We are grateful for the warmth, support and encouragement with which all Alliance members have welcomed the decision'', said Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director of Air India.

The Indian national carrier was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December 2007, but the integration process was halted in July 2011.

The suspension was a joint decision which allowed Air India to focus on completing its merger with Indian Airlines, without the distraction of the work required for full integration into the Star Alliance network.

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller.

The combined fleet strength of the members is over 4,700 aircraft and the alliance serves over 1,300 airports globally. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.

Its member airlines include: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways.