Airline grouping Star Alliance and Air India (AI) are back at the negotiating table.
Representatives of the alliance met AI CMD Rohit Nandan on Wednesday - the first such meeting since August, when Star told AI that its three-and-a-half year courtship for membership was over.
"India and China are the biggest markets in the world," said captain Mohan Ranganathan, a Chennai-based aviation expert. "If India shuts the door on them, Star Alliance would be the loser. The government should be very firm with them this time."
Star had rejected AI on the ground that it had not met contract conditions agreed upon in late 2007. AI denied this.
The government too was reportedly upset with Star, and sources said the talks collapsed when the alliance insisted on inducting Jet Airways.
"AI had full backing of the government in this case," said a ministry official. "By rejecting it, Star had closed its options as far as India was concerned. They have realised this."