Air India has joined the Star Alliance network of global airlines seven years after its first attempt, the Indian government announced Tuesday, in a major boost for the loss-making state-run carrier.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters in New Delhi that Air India would increase its revenue by about five percent by entering the alliance which includes Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Air Canada.
"It is a new beginning for Air India and we wish they fly higher than they have already flown," said Raju, according to the PTI news agency.
The deal is expected to be formalised next month and will give Air India access to the 26-member alliance's network, which covers more than 1,300 destinations.
The Star Alliance of global airlines shares a fleet of more than 4,000 aircraft serving an estimated 640 million passengers annually with over 22,000 daily flights.
Negotiations started in 2007 but hit a roadblock three years ago when Air India failed to meet the minimum joining requirements.