Joining the Star Alliance, a global group of 28 international carriers, has paid rich dividends to flag carrier Air India (AI) as passenger transfers from group members have more than doubled and revenues from such transfers witnessed more than two-fold increase.
A transfer happens in case a passenger is going to a location AI does not service. AI will take the passenger to a location nearest to the destination from where a different airline will ferry the passenger. The revenue is shared between the two airlines.
Established in 1997, Star Alliance is the biggest of the three global airline alliances with the other two being SkyTeam and oneworld. AI completed a year in the alliance on July 11. AI is the first Indian carrier to be inducted into Star Alliance. AI was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December 2007, but the integration process was halted in July 2011.
“Joining Star Alliance has allowed AI passengers to use Star’s facilities such as airport lounges, fly on a network of around 20,000 daily flights to over a thousand airports in over 190 countries, and redeem air miles on airlines such as Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines,” said aviation expert Rajji Rai.
“The revenues and transfers should increase substantially as we are in advanced talks with at least 14 foreign airlines for code share agreements. A majority of these belong to Star,” said an AI official.
Code-share is a ticket-selling agreement between two airlines whereby one airline can market and sell the flights of another airline and provide seamless travel to multiple destinations where it doesn’t fly.
At a time when Gulf carriers have managed to corner the biggest pie of the Indian international market — around 40% of all international traffic from the country is West Asian bound — many international carriers want code-shares with AI.