Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal identifies consumer experience and OTP as top priorities

Amidst the unfolding development surrounding the process of disinvestment, the debt-ridden national carrier is eyeing putting to optimal use the available space at airports and hangers, thereby saving funds on rentals. The new CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) has set in motion several such initiatives to better budget expenses, according to news agency PTI. 

Commenting on the same, CMD Rajiv Bansal said in an interview, “I am finding that there is a lot of unused material lying in hangars and unnecessarily we are holding on. So we can get some money by selling the scrap and also save rentals by leaving the space.”

Further illustrating his point, he mentioned “I noticed that in Delhi itself one aircraft which has been auctioned is lying in the hangar. Similarly in Mumbai, steel scrap is lying and we are trying to dispose that of so that hangar space can be cleared.”

The new CMD has a number of pressing priorities to cater to as the beleaguered carrier plans to minimize losses, accounting in several hundred million dollars. According to the new CMD, key priorities for Air India include improving on-time performance and customer experience.  “These are the two things from the passenger side and on the internal side we should make enough money. So must make money and spend less,” said the CMD as per the PTI report.
Highlighting legacy issues, post the merger of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India in 2006, the CMD noted that debt servicing had been a major issue. “We are having a huge debt and there was a turnaround plan approved by the government. There are accumulated losses and the losses are being added due to huge debt. We are having debt service obligations,” he is reported to have said.
Air India remains a critical national asset in ensuring air-connectivity to distant corners of the country. Its connectivity and reach remain unparalleled. While the airline has been in news for all the speculation surrounding the disinvestment and modalities therein, the new CMD has set the ball rolling by identifying crucial areas of engagement. A better asset managed airline is necessary to ensure that the carrier does not accumulate any further loss on the operation front and is better capable to service the debt owing to, yet to be addressed, legacy issues. It is a welcome move by the CMD.

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