In news coming out of India, the Star Alliance has extended an invitation to Indian carrier Jet Airways to become the newest member of Star Alliance and join EVA Air as new member-elects to the world’s largest airline alliance. Though this has been in the news previously, it may be resurfacing again.
According to the “Centre For Asia Pacific Aviation”, the invitation had been extended but the Indian Government insists that it will not allow Jet to join the Alliance unless Air India is accepted first. Yes you read that correctly. The airline that was on the cusp of membership in recent months after a 3 1/2 year application period, who has befallen on disastrous economic times, is being used as leverage and Jet Airways stands to be the biggest loser if Star Alliance does not accept Air India in some quasi-package deal.
To me this is simply a transparent ploy by the Indian government to offload a struggling airline into an alliance in the hopes that membership will cure Air India’s woes. Unfortunately, AI’s problems run far deeper than can be fixed by any membership in any alliance. Operating losses and outdating technology platforms have been the major obstacles to alliance membership.
With Jet being the best positioned to succeed, India is willing to threaten the success of yet another Indian based carrier. Have they not learned their lesson with Air India and Kingfisher?
This development follows a recent meeting that was held recently by Lufthansa’s CEO Christoph Franz and Jet’s Chairman Naresh Goyal ahead of Jet beginning new service to Frankfurt and Munich. Personally, the timing of the meeting was a little bit more than interesting to me at this point.
If I had a crystal ball, I think I would see the capitulation of the Indian goverment, who will remove their demands, and will finally let one of their national carriers join an alliance. Maybe.