Air India expects to finally join Star in mid 2011

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Air India expects to formally join Star Alliance in mid 2011, ending a significantly longer than typical integration process.

Star first accepted Air India in December 2007, kicking off an integration period which typically takes 12 to 18 months. But IT issues have repeatedly delayed the integration process.

Air India executive director planning and international relations Tridib Kumar Palit says work on its IT overhaul finally began in the first half of this year and the carrier is now on track to enter Star in mid-2011.

"Early next year we'll get the IT system done and after the IT system gets done in three to four months we should be in Star Alliance," Palit said in a recent interview with ATI and Flightglobal.

He says SITA is providing Air India's new IT systems. New members of global alliances typically have to install new IT systems before formally becoming members. In Air India's case, Palit says the delay was in actually starting the process of replacing the IT systems and now the project is in progress there should not be any additional delays.

"Now it's just a question of work being taken to the end," Palit says, referring to the process of implementing the new IT systems. "On other non IT related things we've made very significant progress."