As the Tata group completes the first year of taking over Air India, the airline on Friday said it is finalising a historic order of new aircraft while the airline's chief Campbell Wilson highlighted that the carrier's progress has been quite remarkable.
Stepping into the second year of Air India 2.0, Wilson, in a message to employees, acknowledged that there will be challenges along the way and emphasised that more than successes, "it is how we respond to our lapses ... that will define us".
The airline has committed to spending USD 400 million to renovate the interiors of its whole wide-body aircraft as part of a roadmap for transformation under Vihaan.AI that will last for the next five years.
But in recent weeks, the airline has experienced some difficulties as a result of the disruptive behaviour of passengers on two overseas flights, and the DGCA has also fined the company.
On Friday, Air India announced a number of significant efforts, including the "finalisation of a historic order of new aircraft to power future growth" and the addition of more than 1,200 professionals across key functions to enhance capabilities.
"Hundreds of initiatives across 22 broad work streams are underway to transform the airline over three phases: Taxi, Take Off and Climb," the airline said.
Campbell Wilson's message to employees
In his message, Wilson said that while working on improvements, the airline has not shied away from other ambitious actions such as merging Air India Express with Air Asia, or Vistara with Air India, or kicking off the establishment of a new InfoTech Centre, or an Aviation Academy.
"And that's not to mention our much talked-about short- and-medium term fleet expansion," the CEO and MD of Air India said.
In the past year, Air India said its total operating aircraft increased 27 per cent to 100, 16 new international routes have been either launched or announced, average daily revenue has doubled and manpower at its call centre has been more than doubled, among other initiatives.
Tata group took control of loss-making Air India from the government on January 27 last year.
"Taken together, the progress over the last 12 months has been nothing short of stunning, even if so much of what we have been working on has been behind the scenes, building platforms and capabilities so that our future ambitions can take flight. There is of course much more that needs to be done, and everyone - internally and externally - is hungry for us to do it," Wilson said.
Started his message by saying "Happy Friday, folks... and Happy Anniversary, for today marks the first anniversary since Air India returned to Tata!" Wilson extended his deepest gratitude to the employees for the hard work put in over the past year.
Noting that together they have embarked upon "one of the most ambitious turnarounds in international aviation history", Wilson said, "quite remarkable progress" has been made in a very short space of time.
"I would especially like to acknowledge our erstwhile Air Indians who have experienced probably the most significant period of change in your entire working lives, with all the trepidation, uncertainty and adjustment that this entailed.
"And to all of you, whether 'old' or 'new', I thank you for coming together behind this mission of national importance so quickly and constructively," he said.
According to Wilson, the airline will continue to communicate and roll out new things, "being clear about the rising expectations we must all meet, how these relate to you and how we will support".
"Transforming any organization entails deep cultural shifts, which is why we have put such a high priority on communicating with you, and on improving policies, practices and support systems, not just benefits." "Fostering integrity, accountability, collaboration and trust are keys to future success, and must be guiding lights," he added.
The airline has revamped its domestic in-flight menu with an assortment of gourmet meals, appetisers, desserts and refreshing beverages to satiate taste buds. It will also shortly introduce an enhanced menu on its international routes.
With inputs from Agencies.
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