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AI reorients to changing realities in aviation

Written by: Staff

Paris, Jun 7: Air India (AI), the country's flagship carrier, is reshaping itself fast to face growing competition from domestic and international airlines, its chairman and managing director Vasudevan Thulasidas said today.

Basically, there are two key elements in a plan to turn around.

First is the fleet. When the market was growing, it did not add aircraft to its fleet for a long time. Other airlines entered the market and AI's market share decreased.

''So it is essential for us to add modern aircraft to survive. We have placed orders for 68 planes and signed contracts worth .5 billion.'' Mr Thulasidas was talking to UNI on the sidelines of World Air Transport Summit (WATS) held here alongwith 62nd annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The second part is the need for cultural change within the government-owned company.

''This is more difficult than just buying aircraft. There is a need for people in AI to believe that the airline industry is an intensely competitive business. A passenger has a lot of choice in India internationally. Unless employees wake up to this reality, there will be no airline, no jobs.'' Mr Thulasidas said AI is introducing a change management programme and re-branding exercise to formalise this.

''The message has been given very clearly: either you perform and change your attitude. Or you may not be here tomorrow. Luckily, the message appears to have been accepted very positively.''


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