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Is It a Happy Anniversary For Air India? From being under public ire for incidents of unruly passengers to making some significant gains under the aegis of Tata group, this one year has been a roller coaster ride for the airline

By Shrabona Ghosh

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It's been a year since the Tata group announced the completion of the transaction for the purchase of Air India from the government of India. Post the deal, the year was a smooth ride for the airline until incidents of unruly passengers came to light. Since then, the airline has been under public ire, even the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has termed the airline's response to such incidents as 'lackadaisical and delayed'.

Nevertheless, amid impediments, the airline has made some significant gains under the aegis of Tata group. From increasing total operating aircraft, average daily flights, weekly international flights to clearing backlogs, it has crossed a few milestones.

"The total operating aircraft increased by 27 per cent to 100, the number of average daily flights increased by 30 per cent and weekly international flights increased by 63 per cent. As many as 16 new international routes were announced," said an Air India statement.

The company's revenue has doubled and it has also been able to reduce its refund backlog. As many as 1,200 professionals were roped in across key functions areas to upgrade capabilities and support growth.

"The progress over the last 12 months has been nothing short of stunning, even if so much of what we have been working on has been behind the scenes: building platforms and capabilities so that our future ambitions can take flight. We have set out to create an airline that ranks amongst the best in the world, and will proudly represent the new India on the global stage," said Campbell Wilson, chief executive officer, Air India.

Looking Forward, Air India has a well-defined roadmap under Vihaan.AI (transformation plan) to revamp itself over the next five years. "Hundreds of initiatives across 22 broad workstreams are underway to transform the airline over three phases: Taxi, Take Off and Climb," added the statement.

The airline is committed to infuse $400 million to refurbish the interiors of its entire wide-body fleet including latest generation seats and best-in-class inflight entertainment across all cabin classes. Drawing cues from the recent incidents of unruly passenger behavior, Air India has reviewed its policies. "We have reviewed our existing in-flight alcohol service policy taking reference from other carriers' practice and input from the US National Restaurants Association's guidelines. These were largely in line with Air India's existing practice, though some adjustments have been made for better clarity, and NRA's Traffic Light system included to help crew recognise and manage possible cases of intoxication. Air India remains committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers and cabin crew," said a spokesperson, Air India.

According to a report by Mint, Tata Sons Ltd may invest $1.5-1.8 billion in the proposed airline behemoth created by the merger of Air India and Vistara. The group is working on its other ambitious projects, such as merging Air India Express with Air Asia, Vistara with Air India, kicking off the establishment of a new InfoTech Centre or an aviation academy.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 

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