Monday, December 06, 2021

Tata Group working on 100-day plan to improve Air India services

The Tata Group is blueprinting a 100-day plan for Air India to improve the operational and service standards of the airline, under the watch of an expatriate chief executive, with the name of former Delta president Fred Reid emerging as the favourite among the shortlisted candidates for the CEO post.

As part of the 100-day plan for the national carrier it is set to take over from the government, the group aims to improve its on-time performance, as well as issues related to passenger complaints and call centres.

"As part of the 100-day plan, the aim is to improve basic service standards. While these issues cannot be improved completely during the first 100 days, improvements can happen. Also, these numbers (on-time performance, passenger complaints, etc.) are reported monthly, and any improvement will be for everyone to see," said a person in the know of the plans, who did not want to be identified. The Tata Group said it would not comment on the matter. "The Air India share-purchase transaction is currently underway. We are working with the government of India to complete the process. We will refrain from commenting on any speculation till such time the deal is concluded," the Tata Group said in an emailed response to ET's questions.

The Tata Group, through wholly-owned subsidiary Talace Pvt Ltd, won a bid to acquire the entire stake in Air India, its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express and a 50% holding in ground-handling company AISATS. The government plans to transfer Air India to the group by the third week of January. According to data for October released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India was the third highest in terms of passenger complaints. It also operated the lowest number of flights on time among carriers in India.

The Tata Group is learned to have shortlisted a few candidates to lead the airline as its CEO, and Reid is the favourite among the shortlisted candidates, the person cited earlier said. While the Tata Group has stakes in two joint-venture airlines - Vistara and AirAsia India - the person said the group doesn't have any aviation expertise on its own. "It was always clear that an expat CEO will be brought in to implement the integration of Air India and prepare its future plans. Reid has been shortlisted for the job," the person added.

06/12/21 Economic Times

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