Air India to focus on putting grounded planes back in the air

‘Plan is to consolidate instead of expanding network’
Air India will focus on making 14 of its snag-ridden aircraft airworthy in the next three months and add more frequencies in order to improve its aircraft utilisation. This is part of the airline’s efforts to make it more attractive to private players when the government revisits its disinvestment. “Our plan is to consolidate instead of expanding our network and curtail costs. We will be focussing on improving available seat miles [or passenger carrying capacity] by getting planes to fly more,” said Vinod Hejmadi, member-finance, Air India, at CAPA Summit 2019 in New Delhi. He said that Air India had received Rs. 100 million from the government, which would be invested to ensure that its 10 Airbus planes and 3-4 Boeing 787s grounded for past more than six months were airborne.
Route rationalisation
“Our route rationalisation isn’t very good. We fly 10.5 hours on our Airbus routes and we plan to take this to 11 hours,” Mr. Hejmadi added. Once this is achieved, the airline will add frequencies to Melbourne and the U.S. Domestically, the airline will aim to mount more flights to tier-2 and tier-3 cities. “This is where there are better yields and profitability rather than metro routes,” Mr. Hejmadi said. The government’s attempt to privatise the national carrier came a cropper last summer when no private player came forward to evince interest after the government floated a tender for AI’s disinvestment. The government maintains that it will revisit the disinvestment plan to after macro-economic conditions stabilise.

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