Air India’s attempt to sneak into Star Alliance

Air India seems to be making all the right moves while its competitor for the Star Alliance membership Jet Airways is busy trying to make a strategic alliance with Etihad. What I cannot figure out is, why was the Indian Civil Aviation ministry’s unnamed officials making all the noises about the conversations between 9W/EY before it was formally announced.

Anyways, as per more noises from the said ministry and a newspaper report published today, seems like Air India and the ministry (the owner of Air India) are reaching out to the member airlines of the Star Alliance to get them to vote in favour of Air India joining the alliance. They also insist that airlines are conveying to the civil aviation ministry of India their approval for Air India joining *A

Air India’s long wait to become a member of Star Alliance – a vital requirement for its elusive turnaround – may soon end. The aviation ministry has established contact with a majority of the 27 members of the world’s largest airlines’ alliance and got a favourable response for AI’s joining the group.

AI’s entry into Star should materialize soon now. A number of member airlines have already conveyed to us their approval for that,” said a senior aviation ministry official.

(emphasis, mine)

To quickly refresh, Air India was on track to join the *A in July 2011, when on the day of the vote, the CEO board of the alliance voted to keep their membership on hold. *A was always interested in taking Jet Airways on board, who eventually applied this year, but is now talking to Etihad for a minority ownership and perhaps a strategic alliance as well. Like I had wondered then, this move with Star Alliance was not going to be in line with the Gulf ambitions of Jet Airways anyways.

Why not after all, Air India seems to have pleased Lufthansa to get in, and can’t accept being left on the altar yet. We’ll see how this goes…

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  1. I am an Indian and I have travelled Air India twice in my life of many travels (over 26 countries visited, live in 3 different countries and flown numerous different economy usually).

    Air India SUCKS! They couldn’t pay me to travel on it. (well if it comes with Aishwariya, perhaps!).

    A Iowan said…They do not give a damn. Air India = Horrible x Infinity!

  2. Air India is hands down the WORST experience flying. The planes are old, the hard product is maintained poorly, the service sucks but their indian meals are reasonably good (Taj or Oberoi catering).

    Bottom line – AI’s staff are government employees and don’t give a rat’s ass about the customer.

  3. Since Kingfisher is essentially dead, it would be amazing if both the 2 largest Indian carriers want Star. I’m surprised there’s no antitrust concern at all (perhaps because EK already is the “de facto” national carrier)

    Indian carriers could leverage ICN/NRT to reach N.A. West Coast and FRA/MUC/ZRH/IST to reach N.A. East Coast / South America. Particularly from the west coast, it’s way shorter routing than dealing with DXB/DOH.

  4. What on earth is the point of actually joining such an alliance and giving such crappy service? The other day I flew SIN- MAA and was in a 12 year old A330 whose auxilary engines did not support running the inflight air conditioning while boarding and the ensuing taxi to the runway. While coming back it was the same thing. The cabin crew said that they cant do much it has been like this for the last 3 months and they are still saying its airworthy, though every day the flight when fully packed becomes a sauna. The registraion is VT- IWA. I tried compalining but no replies.

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