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We still have a long way to go to upgrade legacy fleet, improve consistency: Air India CEO

Air India CEO, Campbell Wilson, on Thursday penned a letter to the airline's employees, marking the second anniversary of its return to the Tata Group.

New Delhi, Jan 25,2024:  Air India CEO, Campbell Wilson, on Thursday penned a letter to the airline’s employees, marking the second anniversary of its return to the Tata Group.

“This weekend marks the second anniversary of Air India’s return to the Tata Group, so is an opportunity to look back on the progress made toward our ambition of becoming a global airline with an Indian heart,” he said in the letter.

“In the context of our starting point, the size and scope of the transformation we’re undertaking, our unprecedented multi-carrier integration, our huge growth and product-improvement aspirations and our capability-building requirements, two years is an incredible short time. Indeed, we are not even 18 months into our 5-year Vihaan.AI transformation program,” he further wrote.

Addressing the current challenges, particularly in Northern India, Wilson acknowledged the severe fog season and the impact of the temporary closure of one of Delhi’s low-visibility runways for repairs.

He informed the team about ongoing assessments by the Operations team to enhance coping mechanisms for future fog seasons, considering the possibility of increased airport congestion.

“As fog will recur in future seasons and airport/airway congestion will only increase, our Operations team is assessing how to better cope, such as by building a larger pool of CAT3 crew, better roster planning and schedule buffers and, where necessary, more pre-emptive flight cancellations. In the meantime, I’d like to acknowledge everyone’s efforts in helping our customers under often difficult circumstances,” Wilson said.

Wilson took a moment to commend the efforts of the crew of AI105, led by Captain Rishabh Malhotra, who handled a medical-induced diversion to Keflavik, Iceland, en route to Newark.

“Diversions to unfamiliar airports, especially on ULR flights, pose many issues, and though numerous parties are involved in managing them, those on the front line face the most challenging tasks,” he said.

“On a happier note, last weekend’s public days of WINGS India saw more than 10,000 people visit Air India’s A350 Chalet and Experience Centre and see our first A350 aircraft. The sense of excitement was palpable – as it was on Monday’s first commercial flights, which have already generated many posts and videos from passengers and influencers,” he said.

“Though we still have a long way to go to upgrade the legacy fleet, improve our consistency, close remaining gaps and strengthen fragile processes, the future is now more visible, more tangible and, I hope, more inspiring. Despite – and no doubt somewhat because of – the good progress we’ve made in two short years since privatisation, expectations are high, so we need to keep rising to meet them,” said Wilson.

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