If Air India succeeds this time, the consequences could be far reaching beyond the industry. The Indian government has been protectionist in many policies, one of them not allowing the Airbus A380 into the country, and some of these limitations might ease.
However, there still is a lot more uncertainty beyond the airline’s ability to meet the minimum joining requirements: there is a general election in India next spring and a new government may decide to name new management. There is also uncertainty surrounding the possible privatization and further government funding for the money-losing airline.
Nandan points to improved performance in recent months. On-time performance, for example, has risen from 67% to 83%. Air India is growing by about 7% annually. When it becomes a Star member it plans to look at expanding long- and medium-haul services into Europe and Asia, but has no expansion plasn for North or Latin America.