India’s Kingfisher Airlines became a member-elect of the oneworld Alliance on June 7 after completing a formal membership agreement with the alliance.
The contract was signed by Kingfisher Airlines’ Chairman and Chief Executive Vijay Mallya and his counterparts from all 12 existing oneworld partner airlines and members-elect.
Signing of the contract follows a memorandum of understanding reached between Kingfisher Airlines and oneworld, announced in late February, setting out a framework for membership discussions.
A key condition for oneworld inviting Kingfisher Airlines to join has already been met, according to oneworld, with India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation granting approval for the carrier to become part of the alliance just weeks after the airline filed its request for authority to proceed. This enables Kingfisher Airlines and oneworld to move quickly to complete the Indian carrier’s formal membership agreement.
Experts from British Airways — which is serving as Kingfisher Airlines’ oneworld sponsor and mentor — and from oneworld’s central staff have visited their Kingfisher Airlines counterparts in Mumbai and Delhi to set the carrier’s joining program in motion. Oneworld says rhe first element has already been successfully accomplished, with Kingfisher Airlines passing the alliance’s safety audit with flying colors.
The next step in building links between oneworld and Kingfisher Airlines takes place in July, with the opening of the new international passenger terminal at New Delhi. At that time all six oneworld carriers serving the Indian capital will share Kingfisher Airlines’ new premium passenger lounge there.
Meantime, individual members of oneworld have started developing bilateral co-operation with Kingfisher Airlines. British Airways announced on June 7 that it had reached agreement to codeshare with its new Indian partner. The BA prefix will be added to flights operatede by Kingfisher to various points across the Indian sub-continent, with Kingfisher Airlines’ IT designator placed on services operated by the UK carrier to key cities in Europe from June.
The addition of Kingfisher Airlines as a oneworld member-elect comes in a breakthrough year for the alliance, in terms of both membership consolidation and expanding co-operation between its members airlines.