Today isn’t the best day for Air India. USA Today, and many others, are reporting that Air India’s application to join the Star Alliance has been halted. It’s interesting news. The Star Alliance press release says the following:
The member airlines of the Star Alliance network and Air India have jointly concluded that the integration of Air India into the global airline alliance will be suspended. This is due to the fact that Air India has not met the minimum joining conditions that were contractually agreed in December 2007.
While the statement indicates that the decision was mutual, Air India tends to disagree. They claim to have met all of the minimum requirements need to join the Star Alliance. I won’t go and re-hash the entire article. Check out the official press release as well as the USA Today article.
Here are my thoughts. As a guy who primarily flies Star Alliance, I’d love to see some expansion into India. When I was there last year, I flew Jet Airways, as they are a United partner. The trouble with them is that most of the domestic India fares are not eligible for earning miles on United. The Star Alliance really needs a presense in India. This is even more important now that Kingfisher Airlines is ready to join OneWorld.
Is Air India the answer? I somewhat hope not. When I was in India, most people told me to avoid them. It is owned and operated by the government, and apparently the service is pretty bad. They also had a crash in 2010. Jet Airways has good service, and their International Premium cabins look great. They’ve already had some pretty good conversations with Star Alliance. I’m hoping that now Air India seems (at least temporarily) out of the picture, Jet Airways can step on the gas and get into the Star Alliance!