Chiefs of global airlines to meet in Delhi in Dec

Ashwini Phadnis Frankfurt | Updated on October 12, 2014 Published on October 12, 2014

The Chief Executive Board of the 27-member global airline club Star Alliance will meet in Delhi as scheduled later this year.

This puts to rest speculation that the CEB meeting might be shifted out of India owing to uncertainty over whether Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director, Rohit Nandan, will be in office when airlines’ heads gather in the Indian capital.

Nandan’s tenure as the Chairman and Managing Director has ended and though the Ministry has suggested a one-year extension for him, the Government is yet to take a decision on this.

In June this year, Air India’s formal induction ceremony at IGI airport was attended by the CEOs of Turkish, Singapore Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

While confirming that the CEB will meet in Delhi in an informal interaction with newspersons from India, Mark Schwab, the Star Alliance Chief Executive Officer added that the meeting will also discuss how important India is for the Alliance.

"We have a very high level of confidence in the people that we work with in Air India. We have built a terrific working relationship with the leadership team there. We know what the commitments are by both parties and I am very confident that we are going to continue to fulfil the agreements that we have with them. I have no worries about that,” Schwab said.

On the issue of Nandan being shifted, Star Alliance officials pointed out that it was not something unusual as in any given year, some 4-to-5 airline CEOs change.

At the last CEB meeting in London in June this year and during Nandan’s tenure, Air India was finally admitted to Star Alliance ending a close to seven year journey for the Maharaja to become a part of the Alliance.

Lufthansa, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, South African Airlines and ANA are among the 27 global airlines that are members of Star Alliance.

Air India’s membership of the Star Alliance will provide seamless travel to passengers on the alliance’s network of over 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 cities in 195 countries. Star Alliance has a combined fleet strength of over 4,700 aircraft. It is also estimated that by joining Star Alliance, Air India will gain an estimated annual 5 per cent increase in domestic and international passengers.

(This Correspondent was in Frankfurt at the invitation of Star Alliance)

Published on October 12, 2014
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