There is the old saying that someone should not count their chickens before they hatch … although in the case of Air India it seems that not only did the airline believe they’d be admitted into Star Alliance on the 31st of July, many of the alliance’s member airlines believed Air India would be joining them as well.
While Star Alliance’s Executive Board voted to slam the door on Air India, rather than open it for them, in the wee hours of August 1st, there are signs that Air India was all set to receive its membership. Over the past few weeks Star Alliance members have begun altering preparations they had made to welcome Air India into the alliance and Boeing is preparing to add some touch up paint to a Boeing 787 awaiting completion and delivery.
As Air India’s entry into Star Alliance seemed to be a given to multiple Star Alliance member airlines, working began on adding Air India into every day marketing materials. While many of these materials will never see the light of day, Air New Zealand’s August 2011 issue of Kia Ora, its in flight magazine, illustrates how certain many within Star Alliance member airlines were that Air India would be voted into the alliances. On page 150 Kia Ora, in August, Air New Zealand’s route map depicts Air India’s four Indian hubs as Star Alliance Hubs, along with the other hubs within the alliance’s network.
On a larger scale of confidence that Air India would be admitted into Star Alliance, at Paine Field Air India’s first Boeing 787-837 had it’s livery updated to include the Star Alliance logo … even before the aircraft received its engines. The addition of the Star Alliance logo, just behind the cockpit windows, was applied to the aircraft awaiting completion and delivery, shortly before the July 31st vote on whether to allow or deny Star Alliance entry into the alliance.
Now as Air India continues its preliminary discussions of entry into the Sky Team airline alliance, the remnants of the airline’s dream of Star Alliance entry are slowly being covered up and discarded with a memory of what could have been.
(Photos of ZA235 ©David Lednicer, 2011 and used with permission)