National carrier Air India (AI) has written to the aviation ministry saying it has no problem with Jet Airways joining Star Alliance — the world’s largest airline grouping — but its case should be considered first.
AI’s letter comes days after Jet Airways reportedly wrote to the government seeking permission to join Star Alliance.
Star Alliance, formed in 1997, consists of 27 airlines including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air China, US Airways among others. It has a fleet of 4,386 aircraft serving 193 countries.
The state-owned carrier was all set to become a member of the alliance when its membership was rejected in 2011.
The reason cited by Star Alliance was that AI hadn’t met conditions that were contractually agreed upon in late 2007. AI denied the same.
The government, too, was upset with the reasoning given by Star Alliance and sources said talks collapsed when the alliance insisted on inducting Jet Airways as a member.
AI was expected to join the grouping by July 31, 2011.
“There has been no change in our stand,” said a senior AI official. "We have only said what had been initially agreed between Star Alliance and AI. Our stand remains the same."
AI’s case was the first time in 14 years that an airline that had been invitated, was subsequently denied permission to join the alliance.
The national carrier annual revenue would have increased by 5-15% if it had joined the alliance.
Days after AI’s membership was rejected, representatives of the alliance had met AI chairman and MD Rohit Nandan, sources said.
Besides Star, the other major airline alliances include Oneworld and SkyTeam.