Are the stars aligning for Jet Airways in Star Alliance? Air India is now a no go!

Things have an interesting way to move around in the Indian aviation sector. Air India took 4 long years to be ready for the *A, and eventually their membership was put on hold. Last week, a full year after the Air India membership being put on hold, I wrote about Jet Airways’ formal invitation to join the Star Alliance being made public, and how it would work out for Jet Airways.

In a press report by a major Indian financial news paper, which is actually an interview with India’s civil aviation minister, it now comes to light that Star Alliance has responded last week to Air India in the negative and the Government of India will be supportive of Jet Airways joining the Star Alliance. It also states that Air India will be moving forward to opening discussions with SkyTeam and oneworld going forward. Here is an extract:

Air India has now decided to open talks with rival alliances Sky Team and One World, which are smaller than Star Alliance. Speaking to Business Standard on a wide range of developments in the aviation sector, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, “To be part of the alliance, every member has to agree and that has not happened, especially after the pilots’ strike, when we lost a lot of credibility. They have practically said no and have sent us a letter last week. We have asked Air India to look for other options and alliances.”

It further goes on to say:

I think Jet being a private airline cannot be a cause to stop them. It is also a domestic airline and flies with our national flag. It is up to Star Alliance to accept them.

(Emphasis, mine)

Though i cannot still figure out ‘they have practically said no’, my guess is that Star Alliance airlines in principle do not want Air India to be joining their alliance, and they are now offering Air India the chance to withdraw their application and save face rather than saying a blunt “No” and maybe closing the chances of Air India to join any other alliance as well. It could also be related to the $10 Million AI paid towards joining the alliance a while back, but I don’t believe in this billions of dollars industry, anyone is worried about refunding $10 million to AI.

So, if this is the way the situation would play out for Jet Airways, then clearly it should be getting the entrance ticket to the Star Alliance sooner than later.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. @AJ, thanks for the response. While I’ve never been to India, or flown on one of their airlines, I am very fascinated by the country and economics there.

    Besides that, one of my closest friends is orginally from Calcutta, and his wife from Varanasi, and I fully intend to see their home country one of these days. The easier it is to use miles to get there and around the country, the better. 🙂

  2. So which of the other two alliances will be the most likely destination for Air India, and can it get its books and management in order well enough to not be a major problem for whichever alliance lets them in?

    • @Autolycus, on paper Kingfisher Airlines is still member elect of oneworld. so that only leaves Skyteam if oneworld does not want them over. the IT systems are much better than 4 years back. but I can’t say that of the management. And till it remains a govt owned airline with non-airline managers running the show who do not have the backbone to take hard decisions, it won’t happen to become a good airline

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