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Air India joined Star Alliance

The company is finalizing an agreement with the TGV Air


Air India joined on Friday, July 11, 2014, the Star Alliance network after seven years of negotiations. A partnership that will enable it to provide its passengers a wide network of connections and new codeshares. On the French market, the company is finalizing an agreement with TGV Air to facilitate the transfer of passengers from the province.



Executive management of Star Alliance welcomes Air India; 27th air carrier,  members (left to right): Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa; Rohit Nandan, Managing Director of Air India; Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada; Mark Schwab, CEO - Star Alliance. (CNW Group / STAR ALLIANCE)
Executive management of Star Alliance welcomes Air India; 27th air carrier, members (left to right): Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa; Rohit Nandan, Managing Director of Air India; Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada; Mark Schwab, CEO - Star Alliance. (CNW Group / STAR ALLIANCE)
After seven years of waiting, Air India has finally joined the Star Alliance.

The process that was started in 2007, was discontinued in July 2011, officially to allow time to complete its merging with Indian Airlines.

In fact, some experts have cited a reluctance on the part of Lufthansa, frustrated at not being able to land in India with its A380. The restriction is now lifted.

With this integration, Air India adds to Star Alliance network 400 daily flights to 35 new destinations in India.

In total, the alliance now has 27 member carriers, offering more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.

This integration will interest French passengers subscribed to the frequent flyer card of the alliance.

But it will especially enable the company to develop new code-shares, including Spain and Portugal.

No competition for the new Jet Airways flight

In 2013, the daily flight between Delhi and Paris, operated with a Dreamliner, offered a capacity of 93,000 seats to 72,000 passengers.

"The trend remains very positive since the beginning of the year. Figures are even more encouraging than expected" ensures Director France Bhuvana Rao.

The arrival of the Dreamliner, the first on French soil, also marked a repositioning in the leisure market.

The new Boeing 787 indeed has 17 fewer business seats than the previous B 777, meaning 18 seats opposed to 35 previously. Economy class however increased by 20%, with 238 seats.

Overall, the supply of Air India has increased by 8% in 2013, with 256 seats per day between Paris and Delhi.

Moreover, it ensures that the arrival of the direct flight of Jet Airways to Bombay last May had no impact on sales.

"The growth potential between our two countries is very important. Within ten years, the number of Indian travelers will more than double" ensures the director.

She also states that Delhi, a doorway to the tourist regions of northern India, remains the top destination for 75% of French visitors.

The French team also eagerly awaits the loosening of the visa procedure which could be effective next October.

The government is considering the introduction of a visa on arrival or the establishment of a full online procedure for 230,000 French visitors who visit the country.

Enough to boost stable attendance for five years.

An agreement with TGV Air next September

Another line of development is that of passengers from the province, who now account for half of sales.

To attract them, the company finalized an agreement with TGV Air to connect a dozen cities to Charles de Gaulle. A partnership which should begin in September.

"Once it is in place, we will organize several events to raise awareness of our product in different regions," explains Jean-Charles Hermet, the sales manager.

French passengers who are still more likely to use Delhi as a hub, particularly to Kathmandu, Bangkok, Sydney or Melbourne.

"Since the Delhi airport has been renovated, we reduced our connection time. As a result nearly 35% of French passengers do a transit" exclaims Bhuvana Rao.

And thanks to its integration into Star Alliance, Air India will offer them even more opportunities to connect with many destinations in the world.

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 14/07/2014
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