Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Air India Won't Oppose Qatar Airways Bid to Set Up Airline in India: Ashwani Lohani

New Delhi: What is Air India's focus area this year?

The key objective is expansion and consolidation. About 35 planes would come this year and we have to fly them. Of these, six will be long-haul planes which will go international with one return flight a day. We are participating aggressively in government's regional connectivity scheme Udan. We have ordered 10 ATRs and we are ordering 10 more this year so our ATR fleet would become 30 by end of 2017. In the next two years, we are looking to add 20-25 planes so I will have a 50-plane airline in the country.

Some more international connections are being planned--Washington, Scandinavian countries. Israel is under consideration. We will be increasing frequency to Australia on existing routes. Then we are working to improve our services still further. We will improve our food further, staff should become more aggressive--in marketing, we have become very aggressive. And we want to keep on earning higher operating profits. Air India has almost come on track, we just have to find a solution to the huge debt we have.

You have been very vocal on several issues including massive debt burden piled onto the airline?

We have to run the organization openly. If you are working with honesty and commitment and not looking for a single illegal penny, then why should we not speak openly? I will.
21/03/17 Tarun Shukla/Mcclatchy