Air India has maintained that it is on a “healthy start” for its five-year transformation plan since being taken over by the Tata Group.
CEO Campbell Wilson stated that the airline is now adding 550 cabin crew members and 50 pilots on a monthly basis. Wilson added that by the end of the year, Air India hopes to have six wide-body A350 aero planes in its fleet.
Wilson also said that there is no such hiring target set, but about 550 cabin crew staff and 50 pilots are being hired and trained every month.
Tata Group and its Future Plans for Air India
After taking over the airline from the Indian Government, Tata Group has implemented a number of strategies to improve the situation of the loss-making carrier, including placing the biggest order ever for 470 aero planes and increasing its international operations.
Moreover, according to Wilson, this hiring rate will continue for the majority of this year, slow off by year’s end, and then pick up speed again by year’s end of 2024. In this way, the hiring speed will more or less coincide with aero planes’ launch, as said by the CEO.
Wilson also stated that they are also conscious of the merger that is subject to regulatory approval in regard to the process of merging Air India Express and AirAsia India, which is now known as AIX Connect, and Vistara with Air India.
When asked about the total staff strength after putting all four airlines together, the CEO said that it could approximately be about 20,000 people. Though, this number doesn’t include those people who would be hired as part of the growth strategy.
Furthermore, Wilson informed the staff earlier this month that since the beginning of this year, Air India and Air India Express have hired more than 3,900 staff members, including more than 500 pilots and 2,400 cabin crew members.
New Aero Planes to Join Air India
When asked about when would the first narrow-body aircraft arrive, then Wilson said that it would be around July or August, when the first narrow-body aircraft would be introduced.
Apart from this, regarding the launching plans for the previous order for 470 planes placed earlier this year, he stated that the first wide-body aircraft (A350) would arrive around October.
At present, Air India owns around 122 aero planes and is on its way to expanding its fleet.
By the end of this year, the airline hopes to have six A350 and eight B777 aero planes. The carrier has rented 9 B777 aero planes so far.
In February, Air India said that it would enter into separate contracts for the purchase of 220 jets from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 250 planes from European aviation major Airbus, which would include 40 wide-body A350 planes.
The purchase deal comprises 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos, 20 Boeing 787s, 10 Boeing 777-9s, 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s, and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aero plane.
The Air India CEO believes that after receiving all of the rented aero planes, beginning the restoration of older aero planes, and starting deliveries from an order for 470 planes, the airline will undergo its true transformation.
Wilson also addressed the future challenges and said that the airline would witness humongous growth and change in scale along with pace. He said so because the airline had been less invested in the past few years.
He also added that the transformation which is about to take place is significant. Along with this, merging airlines, building training capacity, and supporting the growth path is the need of the hour.
When asked about the domestic industry, Wilson said that there is an urge to have a healthy, growing, and most of all, stable ecosystem that is good for the consumers, travelers, economy, and for the aero planes and staff as well.
Proofread & Published By Naveenika Chauhan