N Chandrasekaran to continue with his review of Air India

In a sign of the priority, the Tatas are giving to their latest acquisition — Air India, — group chairman N Chandrasekaran will personally review the Maharaja’s revival path over Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15 at the airline’s HQ in Delhi.

According to a report published by The Times of India, he is learnt to be taking detailed presentations from AI board members to finalise the roadmap, continuing from where he left off last week.

Outlining Tata’s vision for the airline they founded, Chandra has promised to make “Air India the world-class airline it deserves to be” and “absolutely best in class” in customer service, technology, fleet, network and “best possible hospitality both in flight and off the flight.”

N Chandrasekaran to continue with his review of Air India

All these will require a team of top-notch experts. But the formerly state-run airline’s wait to get an aviation veteran as CEO continues as former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci recently “declined” the position of AI MD & CEO.

ALSO READ – Amid the security row, Ilker Ayci declines Tata Sons’ offer to be the new CEO of Air India

A new CEO — who is likely to be finalised shortly — with a proven track record in aviation is expected to put in place a team of professionals.

With regular international flights starting from March 27, people will again have the option of taking one-stops via nearby hubs to fly between India and the rest of the world. The bubble system in place from March 23, 2020, will March 26, 2022, meant fewer flights by foreign airlines.

ALSO READ – India to restart scheduled international flights after 2 years from March 27

DGCA data shows that in the last pre-pandemic quarter, October-December 2019, Indian carriers accounted for 39.2% of international travel to and from India while foreign carriers’ share was 60.8%. Air India (11.5%) and Air India Express’s (7.3%) share was 18.8%. On a standalone basis, IndiGo had the highest international market share.

Air India has to quickly become a more attractive option to leverage its main strength of medium/long and ultra-long-haul international direct connectivity

The latest pandemic time DGCA is for July-September 2021 when Indian carriers’ share rose to 48.1% and foreign carriers fell to 51.9%. Air India’s (14.5%) and Air India Express’s (11.8%) combined share in this period rose by 40% to 26.3%. And on a standalone basis, Air India had the highest international market share.

Air India has to quickly become a more attractive option to leverage its main strength of medium/long and ultra-long-haul international direct connectivity in terms of cabin comfort to prevent foreign airlines from evening its bubble-time passengers away.

In domestic, IndiGo — with a much lower cost base — has close to 55% market share,” said an industry insider.

(With Inputs from The Times of India)

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