India is a big aviation market and Air India provides the important domestic network for our members but opportunities in the market are narrowing with Jet Airways being non-operational, Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh said Sunday. Star Alliance is a grouping of 28 airlines, including Air India, which became a member in July 2014.
Emphasising that Air India is an important representation for the alliance in the Indian sub-continent, Goh said the airline provides very important domestic network for its members to connect into.
“Indian market is a big market and is a very fast growing market... clearly things are changing very fast in the Indian market in connection with what has happened with Jet Airways. I think certainly to that degree possible, it will help (that)... Air India will have higher capacity and better yields because there is less capacity in the market,” he said here.
Full service carrier Jet Airways, which had a significant number of international flights, temporarily suspended operations in April after running out of cash.
To a query on whether there could be a second Indian carrier such as low cost carrier IndiGo as a Star Alliance member, Goh said the grouping is positioned for having a full member as well as a connecting partner model.
“We also have the ability to integrate less traditional airlines whether they are hybrid, regional or low cost airlines. We are positioned to address both the situations. We are not closed for business, whether an airline in India is interested in full membership or connecting partner model. It is more a question of value proposition that you can bring to the network,” he said.
Talking on the sidelines of an IATA (International Air Transport Association) event here, he stressed that an airline should prove its business case if it has to be a member or connecting partner.
“The challenge obviously is that there is IndiGo but in the Indian market there isn’t such a credible portfolio of opportunities with Jet Airways not operating anymore... The market is narrowing in terms of opportunities but we are going to be convinced that if we have a member or another connecting partner they are bringing something that Air India doesn’t.
“At this time, how fast the Indian aviation market is going to grow... We have got to be mindful how that market is trending and not integrate a member just for the sake of integrating,” he said.
IndiGo is India’s largest domestic airline with a market share of nearly 50 per cent. Star Alliance was founded in 1997, with the aim to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to international travellers.