New Delhi, Dec 19: Kingfisher Airlines will become part of the global airlines' alliance ‘oneworld' with effect from February 10 next year.
The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier would become the first airline from the subcontinent to join any of the global airline groups, the two others being ‘Star Alliance' and ‘SkyTeam', spokespersons of the airline and the alliance said.
Besides Kingfisher, airberlin and Malaysia Airlines are also set to join the ‘oneworld' alliance next year. Air India's bid to join the Star Alliance has fallen through for the time being after the grouping suspended the joining process of the national carrier earlier this year, claiming non-fulfilment of various conditions.
Kingfisher received a green signal to join the alliance last week after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance, with the ‘oneworld' central team, they said.
Joining a global alliance gives an airline the benefit of the combined strength of all member airlines across the world, providing seamless travel to the passenger in any destination across the joint network. From February 10, Kingfisher would be offering the full range of services of the alliance and substantially expanding the alliance network throughout India, the spokespersons said, adding it would enable the private carrier to strengthen its competitive offering and financial position.
Currently, seven of oneworld's partner airlines - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian - serve the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Kingfisher Airlines was invited to join ‘oneworld' in June last year after it gained approval from Civil Aviation Ministry to become part of the alliance.
In a statement, ‘oneworld' CEO Bruce Ashby said Kingfisher joining the alliance would expand its network “substantially in a key region of growing travel demand”.
Terming the Indian carrier as one which “matches our demanding requirements”, he said, “we look forward to welcoming (Kingfisher) to the oneworld alliance in February.”
Maintaining that Kingfisher took “great pride” in joining ‘oneworld', Mallya said by becoming part of ‘oneworld' “we will be flying as part of the world's leading quality airline alliance - and the first carrier from the subcontinent to be accepted into any of the global airline groups.” “It will also strengthen us financially, through revenues from passengers transferring to our network from our oneworld partners and the cost reduction opportunities the alliance offers,” the promoter of Kingfisher, which is facing serious financial difficulties, said.
Joining the alliance would be “one of the most significant steps” in Kingfisher's history, he said, adding it would “enable us to offer our customers a truly global network served by partners”.
Mallya said his airline's King Club frequent flyers would have “more opportunities to earn and redeem mileage rewards and enjoy all their other benefits” of all the airline partners.
With the joining of Kingfgisher and two other airlines next year, the global coverage of ‘oneworld' alliance would expand to nearly 850 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a total of almost 8,500 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of more than 2,250 aircraft. These flights would carry an average of 305 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of over USD 94 billion.