IndiGo may fly on Oneworld Alliance

Shishir Sinha Doha (Qatar) | Updated on June 02, 2014 Published on June 02, 2014

Bruce Ashby

One World Alliance may soon have IndiGo under its wing. If this happens, IndiGo will be the second Indian airline, after Air India, to join a global alliance.

“We are actually a lead alliance in terms of revenue from the Indian market because of British Airways, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Sri Lankan Airways as our members. People do ask me, ‘are you going to add Indian airlines’ and my answer is ‘maybe’,” Bruce Ashby, CEO of One World Alliance, told Business Line, without naming IndiGo.

The alliance has as members 15 airlines, which together carry 500 million passengers a year to around 250 destinations.

Ashby, who headed IndiGo some years ago, said: “We have no announcement to make to you today. We are looking at it.”

One World and Star are the two key alliances globally. Being part of an alliance helps airlines provide a number of added facilities.

Passengers travelling on one member-airline can access the lounges of all other member-airlines. And they can earn and use loyalty points while travelling on any member-airline.

Most important, the alliance helps member-airlines offer a wider connectivity network, which, in turn, helps an airline get passengers of other carriers on its routes, and vice-versa.

Earlier, this year, Star Alliance announced that Air India would join as a member, though the proposal was suspended last year. The formalities of joining are expected to be completed soon.

There is strong speculation about a second airline joining an alliance. Since Jet has equity stake in Etihad, a member of Star Alliance, Jet may also join the alliance.

In fact, when Star Alliance suspended the proposal related to Air India, Jet Airways was considered as a potential member from India. IndiGo is the largest airline in terms of domestic market share and flights to international destinations such as Singapore, Dubai and Kathmandu.

But there is one issue with regard to its becoming part of any alliance — IndiGo does not have any frequent-flyer or loyalty programme.

Neither does it provide lounge access at any airport, as all its flights have economy class configurations on domestic and international routes.

However, industry experts feel that, considering its connectivity in the domestic market, these issues may not block its candidature.

The writer is in Doha at the invitation of the International Air Transport Association

Published on June 02, 2014
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