Air India has joined the Star Alliance grouping, a move that will allow passengers of the state-owned carrier to use Star Alliance’s facilities such as airport lounges, fly on a network of 21,980 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries, and redeem air miles on 26 airlines such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Singapore Airlines Ltd, Air China Ltd, Air Canada, United Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Thai Airways.
Air India is expected to gain from joining the Alliance by way of higher revenues in the coming months.
The state-run carrier will formally complete the process of joining the world’s largest airline alliance by July 11, 2014. Air India currently has an international network of 33 destinations across the US, Europe, Canada, South-East Asia and the Middle East. “We are happy to note that Air India has become part of the Star Alliance. This is one of the biggest alliances in the world,” civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.
With the entry of Air India into the alliance, passengers with Air India miles can use the same to book tickets on any alliance member’s network. “Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns programme and those of the existing member carries will also become effective on July 11, 2014. This will provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status,” said a release from Star Alliance.
Customers holding Star Alliance Gold status have access to more than 1,000 lounges across the global network, can check-in at specially designated counters, have an increased baggage allowance and receive priority boarding and baggage delivery, added the release.
‘No talks on AI privatisation’
The current NDA government is unlikely to privatise Air India. Making the stand clear, Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the issue of privatisation was not discussed in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Air India formed a substantive part of our discussion. All issues relating to Air India was discussed. No decision has been taken and I would not like to stir the hornet’s nest,” Raju said when asked whether Air India’s privatisation was discussed at the meeting. ENS