Friday, February 23, 2007

'Air India, Indian merger will pose major challenges'

New Delhi: The merger of two state-owned carriers, Indian Airlines and Air India, has the potential to create a strong global player but only if it is followed by thorough restructuring and a public issue, experts said Friday.
According to industry experts, the merged entity will have a fleet size of 125 new generation aircraft by 2010 after new aircraft are added and some of the existing ones are phased out to emerge among the top 30 carriers globally. The turnover will also top Rs.150 billion ($3.3 billion).
But experts said the merger would also pose some serious challenges in the months to come, especially in integration of two companies that have had completely divergent operations.
'We are not talking about 10-15 employees but north of 33,000 who are spread all over the world,' said Harry Dhaul, director general of AviationWatch, a consumer awareness organisation in the aviation industry.
'The two carriers also have a different fleet composition, so some vital aspects like managing spares and pilot training will pose fresh challenges,' Dhaul said, referring to Air India's order for 63 Boeing aircraft and Indian's plans to acquire 43 from rival Airbus Industrie.
22/02/07 India PRwire (Press Release)