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Monday, 26 November, 2012, 11 : 00 AM [IST]

Govt. might give Jet Airways nod to join Star Alliance

The Civil Aviation Ministry might give Jet Airways permission to join Star Alliance Services GmbH simultaneously with state-owned Air India, as per a Business Standard report. Earlier, the government wanted the Star Alliance, comprising 27 airlines across the globe, to decide positively on Air India’s membership first. About Jet’s entry in Star Alliance, Ajit Singh, Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India, said, “We may consider about Jet’s entry in Star Alliance simultaneously with Air India. We will also be working on Air India’s entry in Star Alliance.”

Last year, Star Alliance had snubbed Air India. Despite the process of admission being in the final stages, the airline’s membership was put on hold because it did not meet certain conditions and all members of the Star Alliance had not approved Air India’s entry.

Aviation experts said for Air India’s entry in Star Alliance, the government can lean heavily on German carrier, Lufthansa, one of the founding members of Star Alliance. The ministry has also indicated that a lot of favours have been doled out to Lufthansa. In the Economic Editors’ conference held in September this year, Singh had said, “A lot of facilities have been given to Lufthansa to get Air India into the Star Alliance. We almost made India an open-sky (operation) for them. Now, we will ask them to facilitate Air India’s entry into Star Alliance.”

A senior ministry official told Business Standard, “Swiss and Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa’s partner airlines, which had earlier been acquired by Lufthansa, continue to function under bilateral agreements signed between India and the two respective countries. Lufthansa has not given the ownership figures for one of these airlines to the government.”

Lufthansa, the mentor airlines in Star Alliance for Air India, has maintained that more than one airline from a country can become a member of the Alliance, as was the case with airlines from China, Africa and Brazil.

Star Alliance is the largest of the three airline alliances in the world. The other two are SkyTeam and oneworld. Star Alliance includes Deutsche Lufthansa, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International. A membership in the group ensures shared benefits to members and seamless travel to passengers. Facilities for Star Alliance member airlines are located close to each other at airports. Common airport facilities, coordinated schedules, and a range of new technologies are also available to member airlines.
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