The heads of the world’s biggest airline alliance gathered in Delhi for a two-day meeting to discuss the future direction of the group. This marked the first time the alliance has met in India since the country’s national carrier joined Star in July this year.
“India is the world’s fifth largest domestic aviation market and will continue to grow both domestically and internationally. It is therefore essential for Star Alliance to have a strong presence in this market,” said Mark Schwab, CEO of the Star Alliance.
Membership of the Star Alliance is a key pillar of the Air India’s turnaround strategy, and the carrier’s chief managing director, Rohit Nandan, said it had already started to see the benefits.
After nearly half a year in the alliance, Air India has seen a 33% increase in the number of passengers transferring between Air India and other Star Alliance carriers, mainly through Delhi or Mumbai. Nandan also said he was optimistic that London Heathrow Airport would look positively on Air India’s request to join the other 23 Star Alliance carriers now operating out of the new Terminal 2.
“London is our main destination in Europe and anything we can do to offer better transfer facilities would be a real gain for us and Star Alliance,” he said.
At the Delhi meeting, the Star Alliance CEOs pledged to improve the quality of their network in the coming years, including new route launches, and to enhance passengers’ end-to-end journey experience by aligning airport products and systems. This will include the introduction of more “seamless hubs”, where the alliance’s members are gathered together in a single terminal, and the launch of a ‘Gold Track’ path through security for premium passengers in 2015.
Summarising the way forward, Star Alliance said it would “continue to grow its global network, by optimising connectivity in order to extract more value from the network, further improving customer experience by raising the consistency of our travel experience across the entire network and, last but not least, further incorporating new front- and back-end technology to support our business.”