Air India is in talks with members of Star Alliance including America’s United Airlines for codeshare agreements to increase its global footprint.
“The airline is stepping up on its global ambitions and wants to give flyers a seamless experience of overseas travel. This is part of refurbishing the brand and product”, The Economic Times reported adding talks with United have been going on for the last few months.
When asked about talks with Air India on a code share agreement, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said there is “nothing to announce”. He was speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association, Doha. Kirby didn’t elaborate.
The airline signed its last such agreement with Fiji Airways in 2019. Both Air India and United are members of Star Alliance, a 26-member global airline group whose members work between themselves to share metal, passengers and even airport amenities.
Air India is revamping its back-end ticket reservation system and transitioning from service provider SITA to Amadeus. A second person in the know said the transition is almost complete with only the airport leg of waiting to be set up. It will be completed by the end of June or July, he added.
Air India, under its new owners, the Tata group, is trying to address massive glitches in customer support and product experience even as it draws up plans for fleet enhancement.
The person cited above said the airline plans to order more than 200 narrow and wide-bodied planes, that will join its fleet in the next 4-5 years. It is in advanced rounds of discussions to place an order for Airbus A350 wide-bodied and A321 narrow-bodied planes.
Air India plans to open multiple hubs across India over the coming years to help capture the surging demand in the country’s domestic market and drive an ambitious international expansion strategy under its new owner TATA group.
Air India has the strategy already in place where they have a hub in Delhi for all our long-haul and our short-haul markets. This is expected to grow because going forward, management’s thought and vision are to create several hubs in India, which would facilitate growth in each of the regions.
Expanding its international footprint means acquiring more aircraft. International aircraft manufacturers have started wooing Indian carriers with their latest offerings.
In a letter to employees, its new CEO, Campbell Wilson said the airline’s best days are yet to come. Wilson was a veteran at Singapore Airlines and the mind behind its long-haul low-cost airline Scoot. Campbell wrote about the airline’s legacy and his own memories of flying on board a Boeing 747 plane in 1995.
“We should rightly celebrate this legacy and these contributions, but we must also have our gaze focussed squarely on the future. India’s potential is vast in myriad areas and you know as well as I the long-term posture and performance culture of Tata Group. You know as well as I that, in any organisation, there are areas that can be improved upon. I’ll meet as many employees as I can over the next few weeks.”Campbell Wilson, CEO, Air India
The Tata group took over the airline in October 2021 and has overhauled its top management as one of the first steps.
(With Inputs from The Economic Times)