Beleaguered Air India (AI) has finally been inducted as the 27th member of Star Alliance after years of dilly-dallying by the Lufthansa-led group of leading global airlines.
Star Alliance operates over 18,500 flights a day in 192 countries.
To mark the induction on Friday, narrow-bodied Airbus A320 in the livery of Star Alliance was unveiled at Delhi's IGI Airport in the presence of Mark Schwab, chief executive officer (CEO), Star Alliance, and CEOs of Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Austrian and Egypt Air.
In a joint statement, Star Alliance and AI said: "AI now offers through check-in to the final destination for connecting flights operated by any Star Alliance member airline for both passengers and baggage hence providing seamless travel. Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between AI's Flying Returns programme and those of the existing member carriers are now activated. These provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status."
AI chairman Rohit Nandan said that Star had put on hold AI's application owing to problems within the carrier. "From today, we open up a completely different world for our passengers, who can now travel to over 1,300 destinations across the network and will be able to earn and burn miles on any member carrier apart from enjoying seamless connectivity across the globe and access to lounges at all airports," Nandan said.
Schwab said: "Air India's induction will see Star Alliance passengers get connections to 40 new destinations in India to the Alliance network. The biggest growth will come from its home market."