Air India finally cleared to join Star Alliance on July 11th

After an incredibly long and painful process, Air India has finally been cleared to join Star Alliance.  It has only taken seven years from their initial application …..

During that seven years, Air India has been through a turbulent time.  It is now only the third largest India airline (after Jet and IndiGo) and remains wholly owned by the Government.  After six consecutive years of losses, it finally returned to profit in the year to March 2013.  At one point in 2011 the airline had actually stopped paying salaries, so dire was its financial position.

The expected joining date is July 11th.  You will be able to earn and redeem Star Alliance miles on Air India from that date.

From a fleet point of view, Air India is not a bad proposition – most of its European routes including Heathrow are now flown with the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners (photo below).  It will eventually own 27 of the aircraft.

Air India

Air India will become the 27th member of Star Alliance.  Despite losing TAM and US Airways this year, it still has almost twice as many airline members as oneworld.

Air India adds 35 new airports to the Star Alliance.  Interestingly, Air India has stated that it expects to increase its revenues by 4%-5% through its membership of the alliance.  This is the first time that I have ever seen an airline put a hard number on their expected alliance benefits.

You can read the full press release on the Star Alliance website here.

Since there are many Head for Points readers who use Air India to visit family and may now be looking for a good Star Alliance frequent flyer programme, I will run through some of the options tomorrow.

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Comments

  1. Look out for the cheap J flights to the far east connecting via Delhi. Flat seats and a mean curry on board but so so service standards. Apparently, new menus and wine lists are being introduced on 11th July to coincide with the Star Alliance joining. Maybe, just maybe, they will become a good to solid option.

    • But do you really want to connect in Delhi? I really wouldn’t…

      • Andrew says:

        Since the new termainal 3 opened a few years ago connecting in Delhi is a breeze and the airport itself is very pleasant.

        I’d avoid Mumbai at all costs but I haven’t been there since the new terminal opened.

        • Even the old Mumbai was a breeze for INTL to INTL connections on one airline. The relative small size of the terminal made it easy to navigate. Off the plane, transit security and into the departure hall. INTL to DOMESTIC was a whole different ball game and a pain in the backside.

          The new terminal should make it a more pleasant experience a la Delhi.

  2. Always wanted to travel to an Exotic place like India :)
    Lots of MR points in my Amex Gold card.
    Where do I transfer my points take advantage of this offer?

    • You need to use either SAS or Singapore Airlines. You’d need to look at their reward charts to see which is best, also remember to check if they offer one-way redemptions (if important) and what cancellation charges are.

    • Erico1875 says:

      If its India you want to go to, I would stick with Avios and fly One World

      BA fly to 5 destinations- Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad

      Qatar fly to 12 destinations – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore ,Kolkata, kozhikode, Amritsar, Ahamedabad, Trivandrum, Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi

      Finnair fly to Delhi