NACIL to employ SITA prior to joining Star Alliance

Saturday, April 10, 2010, 7:23 by Aviation Correspondent

The National Aviation Council of India (NACIL), a company formed as a result of the Indian Airlines-Air India merger in August 2007, is all set to employ the services of aviation IT specialist as part of its efforts to join the Lufthansa-led Star Alliance.

The IT company SITA, which has been selected after a global competitive tendering process, will provide its hosted Horizon passenger services system (PSS) to AI on a turnkey basis. The system is already being used by 140 airlines that carry 120 million passengers globally. The single airline code provided by the system would allow domestic carrier Indian Airlines to integrate seamlessly with Air India. A departure control system, efficient online booking system, check-in and automated boarding control, baggage reconciliation system (BRS) and frequent flyer programme will also be put in place by SITA. Air India would, in turn, pay $190 million to SITA over the next 10 years in exchange for its services.

Arvind Jadhav, CMD of NACIL, said that the AI-IA merger will be completed with the implementation of the Horizon PSS. The move will also help the airline to join the Star Alliance and meet their requirements.

NACIL had hoped to be the Indian airline to be a part of the Star Alliance but its entry had been delayed by two years. In this period, an unsuccessful attempt to join the alliance has already been made by another airline. Once NACIL successfully joins the alliance, passengers who book tickets to fly to India from any destination in the world would book a seat onboard an AI flight, which would improve AI’s passenger traffic.

Even though Lufthansa maintains that a big market like India can afford to have more than one airline in its alliance, it said that AI is its top priority.

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