Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Air India not keen on operating big aircraft, allege stakeholders

Kozhikode: Even as Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines), one of the Haj flight operators from India, is getting ready to resume operations of wide-bodied aircraft at Calicut airport from next week, Air India is yet to act on its decision to resume operation of its flights.

Air India had carried out a safety assessment and compatibility study in August to resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft under Code E and it had also submitted a report to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in this regard. However, it is learnt that the DGCA was dissatisfied with the study because Air India’s safety assessment and risk mitigation plan was ‘not in accordance’ with the provisions of International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The compatibility study was conducted for the operation of Boeing 777-200 Extended Range, Boeing 777-200 Longer Range, Airbus 330-300, Airbus 330-300R, Boeing 777-300 Extended Range and Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner.

Meanwhile, M.K. Raghavan, MP, who has shot off a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani, said the authorities were well aware that the operator had to complete a compatibility study specific to the type of aircraft intended to be operated and that Air India had not done that so far in spite of repeated requests.

He said that Air India was not taking the initiative to coordinate and restart the most profitable wide-bodied aircraft operations in Calicut-Saudi sector at a time when the airline was suffering huge loss. Out of the 137 operational airports in India, Air India is learnt to have had the most profitable route in Calicut-Saudi sector.

Mr. Raghavan said the the airline also had about 5,000 odd unutilised seats under bilateral quota with Saudi Arabia when the latter faced crisis in bilateral quota seats and constraints in adding new destinations.
27/11/18 The Hindu
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