Saturday, October 06, 2018

In cost-cutting mode, AI targets cheese for premium passengers

New Delhi:  Three decades ago, American Airlines famously saved $40,000 (a big amount then) by removing one olive from each passenger’s salad plate. Today, cash-strapped Air India is halving the quantity of cheese board carried for premium passengers on its international flights and has cut down its catering cost by Rs 2.5 crore.

This is part of an elaborate cost-cutting exercise that the Maharaja has embarked on as operating expenses have mounted and the government’s promised fund infusion is nowhere in sight.

“Inflight caterers load cheese boards on flights. The cabin crew later sets them on a plate and serves them to premium flyers. There was a lot of wastage of cheese as a flyer may not want certain types of cheese being served. Instead of taking this item off the menu, we have halved the quantity being uploaded and the annual saving is expected to be Rs 2.5 crore,” said a source.

While all aspects are being examined for cutting expenses, the biggest item (apart from loan servicing) is the operating cost in general and the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF). AI’s annual fuel cost is Rs 8,500 crore, which rose by Rs 65 crore after October’s unprecedented 7.3% jet fuel price hike. The mantra for fuel saving: fly slow on west-to-east routes like, say London-Delhi, and keep aircraft as light as possible.
06/10/18 Sauabh Sinha/Times of India

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