Air India, a new entrant of the 27-member Star Alliance, has said that it is overhauling its systems to take the country’s flag carrier to the next level of global aviation market and meet the challenges arising from the new alliance.
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Pankaj Srivastava, Director – Commercial and a board member of Air India, said the carrier will pull all plugs to utilise the opportunities and face the challenges that arise from the deal with the Star Alliance.
Asian Lite, a weekly ethnic newspaper, quoted him as saying this during the celebrations to mark the first anniversary of Air India re-launching flights to Birmingham Airport in the UK.
Star Alliance network counts 27 member airlines, offering more than 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.
“The young fleet of Dreamliner and the world class Delhi airport as a hub can change the fortunes of Air India and Indian aviation sector,” Srivastava said.
“India has the potential to tap the growing global aviation market because of its cost effective systems and its access to the most populous region in the world. The addition of secondary hubs in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkatta will strengthen our network,” he said.
Srivastava said Dreamliner, the fuel efficient modern aircraft, is helping the carrier make a turnaround. This is despite the rise in aviation fuel prices and tough competition from aviation market leaders.
“Air India nearly achieved 100 per cent efficiency on punctuality in the Birmingham sector. We are expecting the delivery of two more (aircraft) by November this year and that will make us more efficient in other sectors,” he said.
Air India Dreamliner is now flying to destinations in Far East, US, Europe and Australia and the alliance with Star will provide its passengers access to lounges of member carriers across the world and single-ticket travel across airlines.
Srivastava appealed to the Indian community across the world to come on board of an Air India flight to experience the new charm of the Maharajah.
“There may be some bad experiences in the past,” he said adding: “That has changed now. India is now one of the fastest growing economies and as its flag carrier, it is our responsibility to reflect the vibrancy of our country and the strength of our economy. We are symbolising the charm and strength of an emerging global power.”
He said the deal with Star Alliance is an indication of India’s national carrier’s new position in the global market and within a short span Air India has changed its on-board and airport services to match up with any of the international carriers in the world.
Srivastava said: “We need the support of international Indians to experience the facilities we are offering and join the ever growing list of Air India customers.
“The fully functional Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International airport and the commissioning of the new international airport in Mumbai will provide a new travel experience to passengers.”