Star Alliance and Air India announced yesterday that the long-pending integration of the airline into the world’s largest global alliance has been suspended. This is the latest in a series of delays announced regarding the carrier’s intention to join the group.
Star Alliance CEO, Jaan Albrecht said: "With the collective decision to put the integration efforts on hold today we aim to contribute to Air India’s flexibility to concentrate on its ongoing strategic reorientation. In this process our member carriers will continue to provide assistance to Air India wherever required."
It was just a couple months ago that the carrier stated they felt ready to finally join the alliance. Apparently that was all bluff, however. Given the financial turmoil the carrier is currently in the midst of it is not particularly surprising that this move came about.
The real question now for the alliance is what happens in India. Kingfisher has already committed to the oneworld alliance. There had been additional rumors of Jet Airways joining with Star Alliance but that was apparently on hold until Air India could get things figured out. With this latest suspension of the Air India efforts could that open up the opportunity for Jet to make a move?
The air travel market in India is huge and growing rapidly. Getting partners in that market is a very important move for these alliances. Sadly, it seems that Star Alliance latched on to the wrong initial partner and is now paying the price for that decision.