Amitabha Roychowdhury/ PTI
Istanbul: OneWorld, a leading alliance of airlines, said that it was in talks with Indian carriers to expand its global footprint as it could not afford to ignore emerging markets like India and China.
“It is absolutely imperative that we have members from India and China. We are in talks with some Indian carriers. They have to decide when to join,” OneWorld’s Managing Partner John McCulloch told PTI on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting here.
“We cannot afford to ignore these markets,” he said, but refused to name any Indian airline with whom discussions were going on.
However, the names which are doing rounds are Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. The latter is yet to start its international operations, which is a major requirement for joining an alliance. The merged Air India has already been invited to join its competing Star Alliance.
OneWorld brings together some of the biggest names in the airline business, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian.
Between them, these carriers serve almost 700 airports in nearly 150 countries, with more than 9,000 daily departures. They carry some 320 million passengers a year and operate almost 2,500 aircraft, while generating over $100 billion annual revenues.
Referring to the expansion in its activities, McCulloch said the alliance would be developing activities in several airports across the world, including Brussels where Jet Airways has already set up its international hub.