New Delhi, Aug 1: In a setback to India’s flag carrier, Star Alliance has put off Air India’s entry into the global pact among 27 airlines as its executive board was unable to decide on the induction date in a meeting in Frankfurt late Sunday.
‘We were informed about this by a letter sent by Star Alliance representatives,’ said a senior official in Air India. ‘The letter said that our induction date would be decided later,’ the official told IANS.
The letter was sent to Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav.
‘The letter says the board was unable to take any decision. No other reason was given to us,’ the official said, adding the executive board, nevertheles, endorsed the fact that Air India had met with pre-joining requirements and the only thing left was to fix a date.
The national carrier was extended an invitation to join Star Alliance in December 2007 in Beijing, with Lufthansa as the sponsor. But delays in software and other operational integration after the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India had put paid to plans.
Global interline packs like Star Alliance and Oneworld entail several benefits to member carriers like improved product offering, better service standards, access to new markets and premium customers and partnership with leading global carriers.
Formed in 1997, Star Alliance is a consortium of 27 airlines, including Lufthansa, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Swiss, among other major airlines of the world. Its members have over 4,000 aircraft and serve 181 countries.
Currently, Air India operates flights to 63 domestic destinations and has a network of 33 international destinations with a fleet of 127, which includes Airbus A-319, A-320, A-321, A-310, A-330, Boeing 737-800, B-777 and B-747 apart from ATR-42 and CRJ aircraft.