Air India and Star Alliance resume talks: report
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Australia-India air travel market grows rapidly but SE Asian hubs hinder nonstop services
The Australia-India market has experienced rapid growth over the last three years, prompting Australia to lobby for more direct services. Visitor arrivals from India are up 50% since mid-2013, and total passenger traffic between the two countries is up approximately 30%.
Air India launched services to Melbourne and Sydney in 2013 but the Australia-India market is still dominated by Southeast Asian flag carriers. Singapore Airlines has been able to maintain a leading 41% share of the market. Malaysia Airlines also still carries more Australia-India passengers than Air India.
Attracting more nonstop flights from Air India, or the possible launch of nonstop flights to India by Australian carriers, will not be easy despite growing demand. Southeast Asia’s network airlines have a competitive advantage as they serve several gateways in both Australia and India. Southeast Asia’s growing medium/long haul LCCs have also started to compete in the Australia-India market and are well positioned to take a large share of the anticipated growth.
Star Alliance connecting partner model evolves as Juneyao Airlines replaces Mango as first member
Star Alliance's connecting partner model is evolving beyond a proposition for low cost airlines. In Oct-2016 Star disclosed its intention to add Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines. Although Juneyao is full service, the semantics of full service versus low cost have proven irrelevant: the core concept of Star's connecting partner platform is to secure transfer options in key markets. The Star benefits for a connecting partner are only realised when connecting on the same itinerary to a Star member. Unlike the situation with full membership, Star benefits are not offered on a connecting partner when the itinerary is only point-to-point.
Juneyao gives Star a partner in China's financial hub and replaces Star's former Shanghai partner, Shanghai Airlines, which left when it merged with SkyTeam's China Eastern. Juneyao is the second announced member after the South African Airways LCC Mango, but Juneyao will be implemented first in 2Q2017. As Juneyao grows and plans intercontinental 787 flights, the airline may transition to a full member.