Air India has played host to the first ever Star Alliance Chief Executive Board Meeting held in India.
This follows the national carrier’s joining the world’s longest serving and most comprehensive airline alliance in July last year.
Speaking to both local and foreign media in New Delhi, Rohit Nandan, managing director at Air India, thanked all attending chief executives for travelling to India and for a productive two-day meeting.
He emphasised that for Air India membership in Star Alliance is a key pillar of the airline’s turnaround strategy, along with the fleet renewal, network optimisation and an initiative to improve quality of service.
After more than half a year in the Alliance, Air India has already seen positive effects from its membership.
The airline has seen an increase of 33 per cent in the number of passengers transferring between Air India and other Star Alliance member carriers, mainly through Delhi or Mumbai but also at other airports such as London or Newark.
Frequent Flyers are also taking advantage of the Alliance benefits, with over 80,000 having earned miles while flying on Air India since July and more than 20,000 Air India Flying Returns FFP members having miles credited for flights on other Star Alliance member carriers.
Air India sees further opportunities to increase transfer traffic in Delhi and Mumbai and is working with Star Alliance, the member carriers and the airport operators to provide more connecting flights and ease the transfer process at the subcontinent’s main hubs.
Nandan further commented that he was optimistic that Heathrow Airport would look positively on Air India’s request to join the other 23 Star Alliance member carriers now operating out of the new Terminal 2 – the Queen’s Terminal.
“London is our main destination in Europe and anything we can do to offer better transfer facilities would be a real gain for us and Star Alliance,” he added.
In thanking Nandan for hosting the meeting, Mark Schwab, Star Alliance chief executive, assured him of the Alliance’s support in this endeavour.
Schwab reiterated the importance of having Air India in Star Alliance.
“India is the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market and will continue to grow both domestically and internationally.
“It is therefore essential for Star Alliance to have a strong presence in this market,” explained Schwab.
Through Air India, Star Alliance customers have access to an additional 40 airports in India as well as more flights across the region.
With its hubs in Delhi and Mumbai, Air India adds further flight options on routes to North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific.