MUMBAI: Air India, which is a part of the Star Alliance, officially announced here today that it has entered into a 'free flow' code-share pact with Kazakhstan's national carrier Air Astana to expand its presence in the fast growing CIS aviation market.
A 'free flow' code-share arrangement gives marketing access to the operating carrier's inventory and allows it to market seats independently of the operating carrier.
The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals, was signed by Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rohit Nandan and Air Astana Vice President for Sales Worldwide Richard Ledgerin New Delhi yesterday, according to an Air India release issued here today.
"As a state-run airline and Star Alliance member carrier Air India feels honoured to enter into this code-share agreement with Air Astana. This agreement has enabled Air India to reach out to the CIS and eastern European market," the release quoted Air India CMD as saying about the tie-up.
The pact would benefit passengers across Air India's network as well as Star Alliance carriers to travel seamlessly between India and Kazakhstan, he said, adding that Air India looks forward to expand its relationship with the Kazakh national carrier.
Air India already has code-share partnerships with 14 other airlines across the globe and Air Astana would be its 15th such partnership, the release said.
Under the free-flow codeshare pact, Air India would code-share as a marketing carrier on flights operated daily by Air Astana (KC) on the Delhi-Almaty-Delhi route, the release said. With this code-share agreement, Air India has opened its second gateway to CIS countries after it launched flight services to Moscow, making inroads into the Russian market, the Air India release said.
The pact with Air Astana is the beginning of the partnership between the two airlines and both the carriers look forward to an expansion of the code share beyond Almaty and New Delhi on each other's extensive flight network, the release said. This code share agreement would also facilitate strong flow of corporate traffic from professionals working in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and information technology sectors, besides Indian students studying in the Central Asian Region, the release said.