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The Indian cricket team will now take Air India Ltd flights for official travel, according to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India’s oldest airline and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the national governing body for cricket.

As per the MoU, Air India will now be the ‘preferred airline’ for the Indian cricket team for a period of one year, effective 1 September.

Air India will also fly Indian cricketers of both national and other state cricket teams on domestic and international networks across the globe, said the MoU signed on Sunday.

Under the agreement, Air India will offer ‘special fares’ and ‘free baggage allowance’ to the Indian cricket team travelling with their kits.

The MoU also encapsulates the travel of umpires, match referee and national selectors on official duty, TV crew, BCCI officials for various committee meetings, annual general meetings, besides other official travel.

Air India’s membership in Star Alliance, the global group of airlines with the highest number of member airlines operating to 1,330 destinations in 192 countries, and its code share with major carriers across the globe makes it best suited to cater to the requirement of the Indian cricket team.

It also caters to the needs of BCCI members who require seamless connectivity to major cities across the globe, quick transfers, convenient check-in procedures, wide-body comforts and global best practices in terms of processes, systems and procedures, Air India said in a statement.

This is not the first involvement for Air India in cricket. It employs several cricketers—past and present—including Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh and Robin Uthappa.

Air India also fields its corporate teams in both state-level tournaments, and the BCCI Corporate Trophy. It also sponsored Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians in the 2011 edition of the tournament.

(With inputs from Venkat Ananth) 

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