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Oneworld, taking it easy on Kingfisher membership

Beijing: Global airline alliance Oneworld has not set any time line for the entry of India`s troubled Kingfisher Airlines into its fold after putting on hold its membership earlier this year.

"I am reluctant to set time lines. Because the pressure is not internal to Kingfisher. It comes from many external factors so time-lines, in a way, are a bit false here. We are just being patient and taking our time," Oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said here.

He also said that the alliance was "not looking at other partners in India" now. "Several months ago we agreed to put the membership of Kingfisher on hold while they worked through the challenges in the Indian environment which is pretty severe these days.

"There has been no change of status since then. Kingfisher is working on their plans and we are supporting them hoping that they come through well. But we have not announced any change in plans. We have not announced any new date," Ashby said.

Earlier at a press conference, the Oneworld also announced the joining of Srilankan Airlines in its fold. Talking to reporters, Srilankan Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena said the airline would fly to Kochi, Tiruchirapalli and Thiruvananthapuram and the Indian passengers would be able to connect to some 850 international destinations in 150 countries on its network and with its Oneworld partners.

"The tie-up (with Oneworld) will expand the options available for Indian passengers to transit through Colombo airport and connect on SriLankan Airline and Oneworld network," Chandrasena said.

Oneworld Alliance includes global airlines like British Airways, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Australian carrier airline Qantas. It has a combined fleet of 2,500 aircraft operating 9,000 flights daily and generates annual revenue of over USD 100 billion.

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