Vancouver: Two global airline alliances, SkyTeam and OneWorld, are bullish about the prospects in the Indian market and have started holding preliminary discussions with Indian carriers to attract them into their respective teams.
“The need and potential of having an Indian airline in the alliance has grown. We have held exploratory discussions with Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher about joining the alliance. Sooner than later we will have an Indian airline joining the SkyTeam,” its Chairman Leo van Wijk said.
Both van Wijk and his competitor, OneWorld’s Managing Partner John McCulloch, told PTI separately that India was a huge market and a “major target for us”.
The SkyTeam chief said his alliance “has made it a priority to finalise discussions with Indian carriers and select a partner”.
However, McCulloch pointed out that the Indian aviation industry, where consolidation had already begun with the Jet-Sahara, Air India-Indian and Kingfisher-Air Deccan processes, would take “three to four years to stabilise. So any decision will have to be taken after that”.
“India, China and Brazil were “the next growth markets and the global airline alliances will see more participation from these nations,” he added.
The state-owned Air India has, however, already declared its intention of joining the third group, Star Alliance.