The CEOs of all Star Alliance member airlines have unanimously approved Air India becoming a member of the alliance, with effect from July 11.
Their decision, taken at the meeting of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board held in London on June 23, clears the way for state-owned Air India to become the first Indian carrier to join a global airline alliance.
Integration teams at Air India, Star Alliance and its member carriers will now complete the last necessary work in order to ensure that Air India can offer all Star Alliance customer benefits from July 11 onwards.
“We restarted the re-integration with Air India in December last year and just half a year later we are ready to confirm the official joining date,” says Jeffrey Goh, COO of Star Alliance. “We look forward to welcoming Air India passengers to our global network and offering them our Alliance benefits. At the same time we are pleased to be providing our existing customers improved access to a region which includes the world’s fifth-largest domestic aviation market.”
Air India will add a total of 400 daily flights and 35 new destinations in India to the Star Alliance network. The biggest growth will come from Air India’s home market, which 13 Star Alliance members serve in flying to 10 Indian destinations and holding a 13 per cent market share of international traffic to and from India.
According to Star Alliance, adding Air India as a member not only adds more airports to the alliance’s network, but also increases its overall international market share in India to 30 per cent.
Globally, Air India’s membership means Star Alliance passengers will have a wider choice on routes connecting North America, Europe, Asia and Australia via the Indian Subcontinent.
In total the Star Alliance network will grow to 27 member airlines, offering more than 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.
Reciprocal frequent-flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns program and those of the existing member carries will also become effective on July 11. This will provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status.
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. All these benefits will also be provided by Air India.