DALLAS – TATA-Owned Air India (AI) has completed the initial phase of its comprehensive five-year transformation program called Vihaan. AI. Dubbed ‘taxi,’ its objective was to tackle the airline’s legacy issues and set the groundwork for future expansion.
The culmination of this phase also initiates ‘Take Off,’ the second phase, which aims to establish the necessary platforms, procedures, and systems required “to build toward excellence.”
Accomplishments of Taxi Phase
During the Taxi phase of its transformation plan, AI has achieved several significant milestones. This includes committing over US$400m for aircraft refurbishments, revamping menus on international and domestic routes, launching Premium Economy seats on select long-haul flights, and initiating an overhaul of the customer information system for all points.
The Indian airline also in-sourced critical customer service functions, settled over one million legacy refund cases, and launched multiple customer compensation policies to aid service recovery.
In addition, the Star Alliance member airline rolled out new organizational structures, revamped roles, designed new remuneration programs, and introduced training programs to upskill staff and improve service.
AI also signed the industry’s largest-ever order for 470 aircraft, expedited fleet expansion with 36 leased aircraft, and restored to service all long-grounded aircraft.
The Full Service Carrier (FSC) added six new international routes while increasing frequency on another 24 and attained the highest-ever single-day passenger, cargo, and ancillary revenue.
It improved revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) by 17% over a year, invested USD 200 million in upgrading IT systems, and restored in-flight entertainment systems to working order on nearly all first and business-class seats.
The carrier signed an MoU with CSIR – Indian Institute of Petroleum to adopt Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), re-engaged with global aviation industry relationships, and actively engaged with Star Alliance, IATA, and Flight Safety Foundation.
AI adopted a “Go Green, Go Paperless” initiative, including the adoption of e-signatures. These are some of the considerable achievements of AI’s transformational taxi phase.
Mr Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD of AI, commented on the conclusion of the Taxi phase, stating that it had engaged and united Air India employees “behind a common cause and made great strides in tackling many issues that had built up over the years.”
He added, “During this Taxi phase, we have also come a long way in establishing foundations for growth. Our record-setting aircraft order, the commitment of $400 million to completely refurbish existing aircraft, the investment of $200 million in new IT, and the recruitment of literally thousands of staff are but a few of the significant investments being made to restore Air India to the upper echelons of global aviation.
“As we move into our Take Off phase, we will start seeing these investments bear fruit. All Air Indians are very grateful to partners and supporters as we continue this journey.”
Take Off Phase
During the ‘Take Off’ phase, Air India (AI) plans to merge with its group airlines, AirAsia India (I5) and Air India Express (IX). At the same time, Vistara (UK) will also be merged with AI once regulatory approval is granted.
The Indian airline will also develop a state-of-the-art training academy and determine the future direction of its line and base maintenance.
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Feature Image: Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Roberto Leiro/Airways.