After years of trying and suffering the ignominy of being the only airline whose membership process was suspended, national carrier Air India was approved for membership of the world’s largest airline grouping, the Star Alliance.
The final integration processes by teams at Air India, the Star alliance and its member carriers will be completed so that the first Indian carrier to join an airline alliance will take place from July 11th onwards.
Rohit Nandan, Air India Chairman and Managing Director said
“Air India worked hard to meet the exacting expectations prior to joining and today, we are elated to be inducted into the Star Alliance family. It is indeed an honour and privilege to be the first airline from India to join the alliance. We eagerly look forward to extending the benefits and privileges of Star Alliance to passengers from July 11th, 2014.”
Air India will add about 400 daily flights and 35 new destinations in India to the alliance’s network. Air India is expected to complement its domestic network to the current 13 alliance member which fly in to ten destination gateway cities in India. The existing carriers hold about 13% market share of India’s overseas traffic, a number set to increase with Air India’s induction.
Air India will be painting one of its A320 family aircraft in a special Star alliance livery. It is also expected that the carrier will get one of its flagship Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners painted in the special Star alliance scheme, but not immediately.
Air India’s Flying Returns frequent flyer members will achieve full integration with the existing member carriers’ programmes from on July 11th, 2014. Existing frequent flyers hold Star Alliance Gold elite status (commonly called *G) will receive the same lounge access, check-in at premium class counters, increased baggage allowance, and priority boarding and baggage delivery with Air India from the joining date.