Oneworld remains optimistic about India despite Kingfisher grounding

Kuala Lumpur
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The Oneworld alliance believes that India will continue to be well-served despite the grounding of its former prospective member Kingfisher Airlines.

The group signed Kingfisher up as a member-elect in 2010, but the airline's subsequent financial and operational troubles resulted in its membership being put on hold. Kingfisher subsequently grounded its operations last year, and there are few signs of it resuming services.

While India's growing air transport market makes it an attractive target for alliances, its existing full service carriers Air India and Jet Airways are both leaning towards the Star Alliance.

Oneworld is not talking to any Indian airlines, or trying to entice them, says alliance chief executive Bruce Ashby at a ceremony to mark Malaysia Airlines' entry into the alliance.

India, he adds, remains well-served by existing Oneworld members. The addition of SriLankan, which is projected to join the alliance by early 2014, will also increase its connectivity into various Indian cities. SriLankan has 60 weekly services into various points in India and plans to increase that frequency in the near term.

"India is an important market but our members connect it to all of the most important business cities in the world. There are no plans to begin talks with any other airlines there. We are comfortable with where we are," says Ashby.