BCCI trying out Air India for ‘preferred airlines’ deal

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will yet again try Air India as the BCCI’s “preferred airline” as Jet Airways is out of operations. An understanding is in place for the ongoing India-South Africa series.

If BCCI and players get satisfactory services, the understanding may be extended to a one-year agreement. The BCCI in September 2015 had inked a one-year deal with the national career.

If things go well and the board is happy with the services, it could be an annual deal between the two parties.

Sources in the Air India management have confirmed to newswire IANS the development. “We have joined hands with the BCCI and the Indian team travelled by Air India to Dharamsala and will be using the services through the series. Post that, we will sit and assess how to move forward,” the source said.

A BCCI functionary said that with Jet out of the market, the board looked at working with Air India and if things go well, the one-series agreement has the potential to turn into an annual contract.

“We are doing the current South Africa series with Air India since Jet is no longer flying. We had a contract with them (Jet) when it came to the team travelling in India. But we had to look at options at the start of this home season and we decided to give this a go and if all goes well, we move to a longer contract, say an annual one,” the functionary explained.

Coming back to BCCI’s earlier agreement with Air India, it entailed the Indian cricket team taking Air India Ltd flights for official travel.

Air India also flew Indian cricketers of both national and other state cricket teams on domestic and international networks across the globe. Under the agreement, Air India offered ‘special fares’ and ‘free baggage allowance’ to the Indian cricket team travelling with their kits.

The agreement also encapsulated the travel of umpires, match referee and national selectors on official duty, TV crew, BCCI officials for various committee meetings, annual general meetings, besides other official travel.

The agreement also leveraged Air India’s membership of the Star Alliance, the global group of airlines with the highest number of member airlines operating to 1,330 destinations in 192 countries, and its code share with major carriers across the globe. It also catered to the needs of BCCI members who require seamless connectivity to major cities across the globe, quick transfers, convenient check-in procedures, wide-body comforts and global best practices in terms of processes, systems and procedures, Air India had said in a statement when the agreement was announced.