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Star Alliance to Open India Hub in Delhi or Mumbai


Star Alliance will decide where to develop its first India hub — choosing between airports in Delhi and Mumbai — by the end of 2014.

A Star Alliance official announced on Tuesday that Air India, airport authorities, the 27 Star Alliance partner airlines, ground handling agencies and unnamed others will select the location of India’s first Star Alliance hub by the end of the year. The final decision will be made between Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM).

“We are looking at developing Delhi and Mumbai as our seamless hubs for transferring passengers with ease from international to domestic flights, domestic to international and international to international,” Star Alliance Vice President Justin Erbacci told reporters in Frankfurt, according to The Economic Times.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets in terms of passengers. Based on IATA projections reported by Gulf Business, over the next two decades, India will see 266 million new passengers per year.

Erbacci said completion of a “seamless hub” for Star Alliance airlines takes between 6 and 8 months. He cited London Heathrow Airport’s (LHR) new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, which opened in June and now has 24 of the 27 alliance members operating from within. Air India is still working with LHR to move from Terminal 4 to Star Alliance’s Terminal 2.

“The connection time, which is now about two hours, would come down to 60 minutes if Air India shifts to our [LHR] hub,” Erbacci was quoted in The Economic Times.

For flyers, a Star Alliance hub means the multiplier effect of business and first-class lounges, final-destination check-ins, top-shelf baggage handling and dead-reckoning signage to go with the flow.

Star Alliance currently operates hubs at U.S. airports in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, as well as hubs in Toronto, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Cairo, Beijing and Bangkok airports. New hubs are currently planned for Sao Paulo, Narita and Los Angeles.

[Photo: iStock]

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