Air India added one more feather in its Cap by becoming member of Star Alliance. The first airline from India to be inducted into the world’s leading global airline consortium, Star Alliance. On June 23, 2014, the Star Alliance Central Executive Board voted in favour of Air India to become its 27th member airline. Air India will start offering the alliance benefits and privileges to customers from July 11, 2014.
Air India began its journey under the aegis of Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group). Following World War II in 1946, regular commercial service was restored in India and Tata Airlines became a public limited company under the name of Air India. Under the Air Corporations Act of 1953, the Government nationalised the air transportation industry and Air India International Limited was born. In 1960, Air India flew its first international flight to New York via London. In 1962, Air India became the world’s first all-jet airline and its name was officially truncated to Air India. In the last sixty years Air India has seen many up and down but has always been able to keep its prestige and pride among the flyers. Being a Government controlled company, it has to fulfill many social responsibilities irrespective of the looses it incurs while meeting those responsibilities.
In the last few years there has been a constant criticism of Air India performance in the media by not only general public but even by eminent personalities of high social status. It pains to see even one of the retired Senior Executive has written a book on Air India citing reasons for Air India down fall. Without going into the merits or demerits of the allegation, one thing remain there that Air India being a Government Controlled company was never given free hand to run the affairs of the airline. It was not allowed to expand in nineties by Government. Air India has huge resource of manpower and infrastructure which none of the existing Operator can meet. With brand new fleet of latest aircraft and with Government Support and more important factor, a positive approach of each employee, the day is not far off when Air India will resume its old glory and pride in air.
The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network presently offers more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries.
Air India operates to a network of 50 destinations in India and 33 international, covering 23 countries. Presently, with a total of 387 daily departures which include 289 domestic and 89 international, out of its primary hub Delhi and secondary hub Mumbai, Air India offers the best of connectivity and frequency. A mixed fleet of 95 aircraft, including the state-of-the art Dreamliner B787, ensure a comfortable flying experience. A seamless travel experience across a vast global network, besides premium customer recognition and benefits across member airlines.
By coordinating arrival and departure times, Star Alliance member airlines have optimized connections within the network and considerably reduced waiting times for passengers. Through check-in, joint ticketing, check-in and baggage facilities, collocation and connection teams at key airports will all help offer a smooth travel experience. Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns programme and those of the existing member carriers. This will provide passengers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status. Passengers holding Star Alliance Gold status have access to more than 1000 lounges across the global network, can check-in at specially designated counters, have an increased baggage allowance and receive priority boarding and baggage delivery. All these benefits will also be provided by Air India. Membership to the Alliance will bring Air India value in terms of revenue generation and cost reduction. Member carriers work on joint purchasing initiatives like fuel and fleet coordination and collocation of information technology projects. Air India will have the benefit of adopting the global best practices, branding and global visibility.
Courtesy: Some of the information has been taken from Air India site