Faced with a July 31 deadline to meet the requirements for joining the , representatives of and the global airline group will soon meet with government officials to set the date for the national carrier’s formal entry into the 27-member partnership.
“In a meeting of the Star Alliance’s Chief Executives Board at Barcelona on June 3, the Star Alliance appraised the readiness of Air India to join Star Alliance by July 31,” an Air India spokesman says.
Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav says, “Air India is looking forward to joining Star Alliance as scheduled.”
, a founding member of Star, recently said Air India needs to complete all formalities before the final deadline of July 31.
“The Star Alliance has set the time limit for Air India to become a full-fledged member. So, it is time for Air India to prepare by July 31 and meet all criteria. All the solutions need to be worked out by that day,” Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines, said last month.
Star Alliance has certain minimum joining requirements, which involve development, testing systems and procedures to harmonize the product with those of other members.
The process of integrating Air India into Star Alliance is progressing well and Air India is looking forward to becoming a member within the targeted time frame, the spokesman says.
Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht recently told reporters that the group’s invitation to Air India would be withdrawn if the carrier did not fulfill all requirements by July 31.
Star Alliance, formed in 1997, includes Lufthansa,, , and Swiss among other major carriers. It has a fleet of more than 4,000 aircraft serving 181 countries.
Air India started working on the technical formalities as early as 2007 and was originally slated to join the alliance in 2010. But it experienced trouble meeting major membership standards, especially those relating to information technology system integration; however, in April, the airline completed integrating its domestic and international flight code AI—combining IC and AI representing former Indian Airlines and Air India.
Air India serves 63 domestic destinations and has a network of 33 international destinations with a fleet size of 127 aircraft, including the, A320, A321, A310, and the -800, 777 and 747, in addition to and .
Cash-strapped Air India estimates its international revenue will grow by 3-4% after integration of operations with the alliance is completed.