AI hopes to realise bottomline dreams with Dreamliner

The ailing airline has bought 27 such aircrafts

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | July 15, 2011



Dreamliner made its much-awaited landing in India on July 13, bringing hope to the authorities of the national carrier Air India. The ailing airline has ordered 27 such aircrafts, which it hopes, will revive its sagging fortunes.

While the delivery of the aircrafts has been delayed by Boeing by over three years, four will be delivered this year and seven will join the AI fleet next year.

The ailrline is pinning its hopes on the aircrafts to bring it out of the red. An AI official said, “The management is hoping to use the Dreamliners for the reversal of its fortune. We will use them on the middle-haul flights (upto eight and a half hours)- a key focus of our business-replacing the longhaul 777 and the shorthaul A-320 which currently run on these routes to other destinations.”

The aircraft promises 20 per cent better fuel efficiency and 26 per cent lower maintenance costs which the airline hopes will help it minimise operational costs.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry say that the ministry expects AI to take on the competition (private airlines). However, it has to contend with  the AI which has also ordered the same aircraft which will be delivered in 2014.

But Jitendra Bhargava, former executive director of Air India has a different point of view. He said, “My firm belief is that any aircraft can’t change the destiny of any airline. If f it were so then in 2007 AI inducted B-777 to replace 747-400. Since then the loss of the AI has been manifold. It is irrelevant to believe that the fast superior and fuel efficient Dreamliners will be able to do wonders. What matters is the way the airlines operate and utilizes the resources. Even in the case of 777 induction the management failed to utilise the resources optimally.”

He added that the airline has to become more aggressive in marketing, have better schedules and improve customer services. "Men and machine both have to efficient put to work. Ever since the induction of B-777 there has been a drop in the market share and the company is deep-in-red. So, AI has to use the resources in a realistic way,” he noted.

The major hurdle that will come in the way of AI is a mismatch between the kind of aircrafts it uses and the sectors it operates. Bhargava says, “AI has deployed longhaul aircraft Boeing 777 on middle-haul routes which include flying to Tokyo, London, Seoul and Shanghai but British Airways and Lufthansa Airways use their oldest aircrafts for Indian sectors but they are doing good and we have to face losses.”

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