Air India CEO: Air India eyes 30% of aviation market share in next 5 years

Air India is eying 30 per cent share in domestic and international markets in the next five years, the Tata Group-owned airline’s MD and CEO Campbell Wilson said on Tuesday.

At present, the airline has a domestic market share of 10 per cent and an international market share of 12 per cent.

Air India, which was acquired by Tata group in January, is in the process of expanding its fleet and services.

Wilson described the revival of Air India as not a “T20 match” but a “Test match”. The airline firstly aim to restore its reputation, he said, adding “We have evidence to indicate that the progress is being made”.

A revival plan for the loss-making carrier, named ‘Vihaan.AI’, is currently under way. It is a comprehensive transformation plan that lays out a road map for next five years.

Under this plan, the airline is working on getting grounded planes back in the air, procuring spares, and general refurbishing.

There are reports that Air India has a host of issues such as broken seats and service-related issues in some wide-body planes. Responding to these reports, the Air India chief said the company was hopeful of “getting all business class seats in wide body aircraft in good working order by the end of this month and all the economy class seats by early next year.”

On when the airline’s financial turnaround is expected, Wilson said it is going to be a culmination of many things.

Many wide-body planes have already been refreshed and many contracts have been renegotiated, Wilson said. Regarding the matter of financial turnaround, he said it would be “a culmination of many things”.

Air India has also doubled the number of people at call centres to reduce the turnaround time, he added.

Wilson said that taxiing will be the first phase where all things that have tarnished the brand will be identified and addressed.

The next phase will be takeoff, where it will speed up investments in systems, processes, people and equipment, including aircraft. After that, it will be the climb phase for the airline, he said.

In the next five years, Air India will look to triple its fleet size, he added.

Currently, Tata group has four airlines — Air India, Air India Express, Vistara and AirAsia India.

Over the next 15 months, Air India will induct five wide-body Boeing and 25 Airbus narrow-body planes. Besides, 21 Airbus A320 neos, 4 Airbus A321 neos and 5 Boeing B777-200LRs will be leased.

There are 70 aircraft in Air India’s narrow-body fleet, of which 54 are in service. The rest, numbering 16, will progressively return to service by early 2023. The airline has 43 wide-body planes, of which 33 are in operation. The rest will return to service by early 2023, according to a company statement.

With PTI inputs

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