Air India could join Star Alliance by summer

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Star Alliance has halted talks with Jet Airways as it focuses its attention on getting flag carrier Air India integrated into the alliance.

In response to queries from Flightglobal Pro, a Star Alliance spokesman says the Indian market is “big enough” to support two member carriers. Its present priority however is to get Air India on board, and the alliance is “currently not talking to any other airline in India”.

The alliance expects Air India’s integration process to be complete during the course of the summer.

The spokesman says the Indian carrier's integration process "is going well", and that three Star Alliance delegations have been in India since mid-December.

“The main aim was to assess where we stood in the process since its suspension back in July 2011,” he adds.

Work that Air India still needs to complete include training all front line and customer contact staff to Star Alliance’s standards – a process that could take some time.

The Star Alliance board decided to restart the process of integrating Air India into its ranks last December, two years after talks were suspended.

The Indian flag carrier was originally accepted as a future member in December 2007, but the integration was halted in July 2011 as the carrier did not meet the minimum membership conditions.

Star Alliance had in 2012 said that it is in talks with Jet Airways as the alliance wants to adopt a two carrier strategy in India. Jet's attempts at seeking government approval to join the alliance have however been fruitless as the Indian authorities are keen to have state-owned Air India be the first carrier from the country to join the alliance.