New Delhi: Although the government of India has announced its resolve to keep heavily-in-debt national carrier, Air India, afloat with fresh funding, airlines sources say that nothing is been put into concrete action. So the Air India management, according to a report appearing in local newspaper, is planning some cost-cutting measures, beginning with pruning six long-haul international routes, including the Toronto-New Delhi sector. The exercise will allow the carrier to cut its daily fuel bill of Rs 17 crore by Rs 2-3 crore. The move may be put into practice during the low season lasting till April.
Apart from fuel bill and oil PSUs regularly cutting off supply to AI, the delay in induction of the fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner into the fleet may have hastened the move. The twice daily Delhi-London flight would be brought down to once daily and the frequency of Delhi-Toronto and Delhi-Frankfurt flights will likely be reduced.
“With its 250 seats, the Dreamliner is the ideal size of aircraft for us. In the current season, it may not be possible to fill up an over 300 seater (that the B-777 s are) to a break even point. So the frequency of flights using this plane on sectors like Delhi-London and Delhi-Toronto is being reduced. The Dreamliner is now expected to make its debut in late summer and be used to launch flights to Australia,” a senior Air India official, was quoted as saying.
A group of ministers has cleared the financial turnaround plan for AI but the airline’s financial woes are unlikely to end in a hurry as the Cabinet is yet to approve it. Airline sources say that the steps taken by AI’s new chief Rohit Nandan under the watchful eye of aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi have led to a substantial improvement in two things – revenue increase and cost-cutting . This January , AI reported a 30% rise in revenue – the highest ever month-on-month jump. Flight schedule changes are among the steps taken for cutting costs.