Lufthansa should ensure AI’s entry to Star Alliance: Ajit
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The government will soon open talks with German airline Lufthansa to adhere to its plan to mentor Air India in joining the world's largest airline grouping Star Alliance.
The grouping comprises 27 member airlines, which jointly have a fleet of more than 4,000 aircraft serving 181 countries with 21,000 daily flights.
"The government gave lots of facilities to Lufthansa for mentoring Air India to join Star Alliance. They were allowed to operate lots of flights from various parts of the country almost making an open sky for them. Now, we are going to ask Lufthansa to ensure Air India's entry into the alliance," civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said at the Economic Editors' Conference.
Ministry officials hinted at reassessing the permissions granted to Lufthansa network airlines Swiss and Austrian Airlines that continue to function under bilateral agreements signed between India and the two respective countries.
Under the bilateral conditions, an airline can only be allowed to operate to India, if the ownership of the airline is of the country where it is flying from. In the case of Swiss and Austrian, the ownership is with a different country, as Lufthansa is a German carrier.
Singh, however, also said that he is not averse to the idea of two carriers joining the global airline alliance from a single country. Jet Airways too wants to join the alliance.
Meanwhile, senior Air India officials say that they have made it clear that "it was now Air India or none" which can join the Star Alliance.
Air India started the process of joining Star Alliance in 2008 and it was in 2011 that the membership was put on hold by the alliance members. It has paid 10 million euros (Rs 63 crore) as joining fees.
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