Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Air-India plans hub in Germany

After merging domestic carrier Indian Airlines with itself, state-owned airline Air-India is keen on creating a hub in Germany for wider international presence.

Air-India is exploring the options of Frankfurt and Munich and two more airports in the European country.

Air-India Chairman and Managing Director Vasudevan Thulasidas confirmed the development, adding, “We are actively considering to set up a European hub, but nothing has been finalised.”

Air-India will be carrying international passengers to the European hub (which will be finalised shortly), connecting other global destinations beyond Europe by either Air-India flights or its partner airlines. Sources said the national carrier was likely to finalise either Frankfurt or Munich.

Air-India may also join Star Alliance, an alliance of leading international airlines, to get enhanced connectivity to all parts of the world.

The members of Star Alliance include Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, THAI, United and US Airways.

“Joining an alliance would increase load factor by about 5 per cent and global connectivity through other alliance members,” an industry expert said.

Jet Airways recently announced the creation of its European hub in Brussels, which will provide more connectivity between India and Europe, Africa and North America in association with Brussels Airlines.

Jet is launching daily services from Mumbai to New York (Newark) via Brussels from August 5 and will also offer daily flights from Delhi to Toronto via Brussels. The Brussels hub will enable passengers from Mumbai and Delhi to seamlessly connect to Toronto and New York respectively.
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