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Kingfisher member-elect of Oneworld global airline alliance

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) The Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines Monday inked a formal pact with which it has moved closer to becoming a member of Oneworld, the commercial alliance among 12 international carriers.

The contract to become member-elect of the alliance was signed by the airline’s chairman and chief executive Mallya and his counterparts from all the 12 of Oneworld existing partners, a statement issued by the carrier said.

‘The first element has already been successfully accomplished with Kingfisher Airlines passing Oneworld’s safety audit with flying colours,’ said the statement, adding the regulatory approval has also been sought to become a member.

‘A key condition for Oneworld inviting Kingfisher Airlines to join has already been met with India’s ministry of civil aviation granting approval for the carrier to become part of the alliance.’

The next step in building links with Oneworld will take place next month when five of the alliance’s carriers serving India will share Kingfisher’s new premium passenger lounge in the upcoming terminal in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The five Oneworld members that fly to India are American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Royal Jordanian.

The process to bring any airline on board any alliance normally takes 18-24 months in a complex project that covers virtually every facet of airline activity from reservations and sharing of airport infrastructure to frequent flyer programmes and staff training.

‘By becoming part of Oneworld we will be able to offer guests travel to more than 800 destinations in 150 countries on a network that offers the best coverage of routes and places that count, flying with the highest quality airline partners,’ Mallya said.

Launched in 2005, Kingfisher has more than 380 daily departures on average and flies to 69 destinations in nine countries. The eight overseas destinations are Thailand, Hong Kong, Britain, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Bangladesh and Kathmandu.

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