The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the ministry of external affairs have stepped in to push Air India's (AI) case for joining the Lufthansa-led Star Alliance membership as civil aviation minister Ajit Singh is seen as going too slow on the issue. His predecessor, Praful Patel, had not taken up the issue as well with Lufthansa.
A top civil aviation ministry official told Mail Today that it is now become crucial for loss-making AI to join the Alliance as the Jet-Etihad deal poses major threat to the Maharaja. The official said that discussions are on at the highest level as the government had given Lufthansa many lucrative flight slots to Indian destinations in exchange for mentoring AI. Lufthansa is a major partner in the Alliance.
"We now want Lufthansa to deliver on its promise, made over five years ago in 2007. It has been too long and they have to fulfil their commitment. We had offered them all they had asked for in exchange for facilitating Air India to become part of Star Alliance. Most of the issues over which Star Alliance had a problem have largely been worked out," the official added.
06/05/13 Sanjay Singh/Business Today