Star Alliance seeks to re-engage India and Russia

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Star Alliance will refocus its attention on the two regions of India and Russia in the near future.

"We still have work to do in India which is an important growth market. But the industry there is going through difficult times and we're looking for the situation to stabilise so that we can re-engage India," chief executive Mark Schwab said at an interview with Flightglobal Pro on the sidelines of Eva Air's future membership announcement in Taipei.

The alliance aims to start talking to potential carriers there within the next 12 to 18 months.

When asked about Air India and its chances of becoming a Star member, Schwab would only say that it is still waiting for the carrier to complete its restructuring and did not rule out speaking with other Indian carriers.

"We've been very clear that we always are looking for other carriers within India. When the time is right to gear up conversations with other carriers again, we will," says Schwab.

Star Alliance and Air India decided to suspend the carrier's integration with the alliance in August 2011 as the airline did not meet the minimum membership conditions.

The alliance will also look to engage carriers in Russia.

"We don't have any active discussions going on there but this is an area we know we need a solution," says Schwab.

Besides seeking out potential members in these two regions, the alliance will also focus on the formal entry of Copa and AviancaTaca in Latin America and Shenzhen Airlines and Eva Air in Asia.

"Star is at a point now where we have a pretty comprehensive network and are very specific about the quality of carriers that we want to invite into the family. We're not simply growing for the sake of growing but making sure that we're bringing something new and of quality to the table," says Schwab.