For the past seven years, Air India has been in varying stages of almost joining the Star Alliance. At several points it looked like they were very close to joining, but in the end they didn’t meet Star Alliance “standards:”
In fact, Star itself said in a July 2011 statement that Air India’s application had been “suspended … due to the fact that Air India has not met the minimum joining conditions that were contractually agreed in December 2007.”
But recently it was announced that Air India is really going to join the Star Alliance this time, and is expected to do so by this July. I really want to redeem miles for Air India first class (and not because it’s supposedly the world’s ninth best first class product), so I have my red and white pom-poms on and am hoping it happens. At the same time, surely Star Alliance doesn’t actually expect Air India will raise their standards given the condition they’re in, do they? Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
What’s interesting is that there are conflicting reports in the media — both citing “sources” — as to whether Air India is ready to join the Star Alliance or not.
ET NOW claims that they’re nowhere close to being ready:
And for that matter, I think the “aviation analyst” that they interview needs to get on a plane if he thinks you get the same service standard no matter which Star Alliance airline you fly.
Meanwhile this article by The Financial Express suggests that Air India is actually ahead of schedule for joining the Star Alliance:
State-run carrier Air India will complete all the necessary requirements for its integration with Star Alliance before this weekend and ahead of schedule, as it looks to ensure that one of the most critical pillars of its turnaround plan goes through smoothly. After a wait of about seven years, Air India is to officially join the largest global airline alliance in July this year.
A top airline official told FE that training of its front-line staff is complete, while contracts such as commercial and legal agreements with Star Alliance partners is nearly done as well. Testing of the IT systems with partner airlines will be completed on Thursday.
“Our internal deadline had been May 15 and most of the work is now done. This is a very crucial part of our strategy and we need to get this right. We have been working on this for a long while on and have upgraded several processes to match the partners,” he said.
C’mon, lets make it happen! Based on what I’ve heard about Air India first class, it’ll give China Southern a run for their money…