Air India's Alliance Deadline Approaches

THERE IS growing confusion as to whether Air India will join Star Alliance or not.  The state-owned flag carrier was originally invited to join the airline grouping three and a half years ago in December 2007, a process that should take between 12 and 18 months to complete.  Full membership was due last year, but delays in meeting the standards set by the alliance prevented this from happening.  It would appear that Star has now run out of patience with the company, giving it a July 31 ultimatum to meet the requirements for membership or the invitation will be withdrawn.
Air India has responded, saying it is confident that it can meet the deadline and that it has already modernised its fleet and updated its product and image in recent months.  But apparently IT issues are now causing delays; the airline started overhauling its IT systems in the first half of 2010 and these were due to be completed in early 2011.  Star Alliance CEO, Jaan Albrecht, has been quoted as saying: “Acquiring membership is a complex process, but by the end of July we will have a clear vision of where Star and Air India stand.