Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Air India ready for Star?

Neelam Mathews
July 25, 2011

After many deadlines passing even as our national carrier keeps saying it will join Star Alliance “on time”, we are nearing its latest deadline of July 31 given to it by its alliance partners to complete all joining requirements.

One would think that’s hell of a way to start a relationship! Air India has once again proved the concept of timelines is dated. 

“The meeting which took place on Monday, 18 July 2011, between the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India and Star Alliance is one of many meetings which have taken place during the integration process. The attending parties discussed the current stance of the Air India integration process into the Star Alliance network. This process is ongoing and needs to be completed by the end of July this year. As with any new member carrier, the final acceptance of Air India is also subject to a vote by all existing Star Alliance member carriers, which is the final confirmation that all joining requirements have been duly met and completed,” says Markus Ruediger, Star Alliance spokesman.

While it is standard procedure for the Chief Executives (of Star) to vote on the acceptance on a new member carrier, most – one suspects including Jet Airways(!) – are anxiously waiting in the wings for Air India to join.

One hears another date might be announced before July 31. This is embarrassment to the nation of the highest order. To be fair, one hopes to get Air India’s part of the story.

Recently Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht said Air India has until July 31 to fulfill the requirements to join the airline grouping or the carrier's invitation will be withdrawn.

"The process for AI to fulfill its requirements has now taken nearly four years," Albrecht said to a publication. "We will not extend this deadline anymore. One day there must be a final point." Nevertheless, he added, "We expect that AI will make it."

Now that Air India has not made it, where now?

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