Air India is likely to get a single code for reservations, flight scheduling and other commercial activities by October which would enable it join the Star Alliance by March next year.
Currently, both Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines are operating on different codes -- IA and IC -- and operating on distinct IT platforms -- Unisys for Air India and IBM for Indian Airlines, even after over two years of their merger.
The process of evolving the single code, which is a must for entry into the global network of 27 airlines, is likely to be completed by October, airline sources said.
Once the systems are integrated, Air India would launch the final process to formally join Star Alliance. "This process is likely to be completed by early next year or by the end of this financial year," the sources said.
The national carrier recently gave a Rs 800 crore contract to the IT specialist firm Societe International Telecommunication Aeronautics (SITA) for integrating the passengers services and scheduling systems and operating them for 10 years.
Integrating the IT systems of the two companies would provide Air India with common product delivery, online booking, passenger handling, sales and marketing functions, frequent flyer programmes and through connections between member airlines of Star Alliance.
This integration would not only complete the merger of the two carriers but would enable Air India to align the processes and systems to meet Star Alliance standards, the sources said.
Star Alliance is one of the three elite clubs of the airlines. With 27 global airlines partnering each other, the alliance has a network that operates 25,050 flights every day from as many as 1,167 airports in 181 countries. Oneworld and Sky Team are the two other such alliances.
While Jet Airways is in the race with Air India to join the Star Alliance, Kingfisher Airlines has recently signed an MoU with OneWorld to come onboard its platform.