LONDON – On September 20, the Indian flag carrier airline, Air India, announced its new transformation plan that will bring the airline back onto the global stage, further strengthening India’s presence in the aviation sector.
Building The Future
Air India’s new transformation plan, is rightfully named “Vihaan.AI” which translates from Sanskrit as the dawn of a new era for Air India. A perfect name for the flag carriers’ extensive plan to re-establish itself as a leading airline, after many years of uncertainty, of which this plan will unfold itself over the next five years, until 2027.
In line with its new transformation plan, Vihaan.AI, the carrier has outlined a comprehensive roadmap that outlines some major milestones that the carrier aims to achieve over the coming five years, where both network and fleet growth is at the centre stage, alongside customer experience and on-time performance improvements.
To coincide with the carriers’ fleet growth plans, they announced just only one week ago that they have signed new leasing agreements for 21 Airbus A320neos, and four Airbus A321neos.
The carrier will in addition restart the lease agreements of its Boeing 777-200LR bringing five LRs into service with the carrier between December 2022 and March 2023.
It is expected that the Airbus narrow-body aircraft will be utilised to increase capacity across routes throughout India, as well as further into Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Air India said that its returning Boeing 777-200LR aircraft will be utilised on routes from Indian metro cities to the U.S.
In terms of their U.S. expansion with their Boeing 777-200LRs, Mumbai will see services to San Francisco, and both New York’s Newark and John F. Kennedy airports, as well as Bangalore, gaining a three times weekly service to San Francisco.
Not only this but the carrier cited that these initial aircraft and route expansions are “just the beginning” for the return of Air India, so we certainly expect to see more aircraft announcements from the carrier as well as rapid growth across its network over the next five years for the duration of their new Vihaan.AI plan.
Also as part of Vihaan.AI, the carrier aims for its domestic market share to increase to 30%, as well as significant growth in international services as well, all in order to put the carrier onto a path of future profitability, sustainability and market growth.
To help achieve this, they have laid out five pillars that the Vihaan.AI transformation plan will follow, those five pillars are:
- Exceptional customer experience.
- Robust operations.
- Industry-best talent.
- Industry leadership.
- Commercial efficiency and profitability.
Commenting on their new transformation plan announcement, Air India’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Campbell Wilson, said: “This is the beginning of a historic transformation for Air India and the dawn of a new era. We are laying the foundation for a brave new Air India, with a renewed sense of purpose and incredible momentum.”
“Vihaan.AI is our transformation plan to make Air India the world-class airline it once was, and that it deserves to be again. We are absolutely focussed on being recognised as a world-class airline service global customers, with a proudly Indian heart.”
“The transformation has already started – a slew of initiatives in areas like refurbishing cabins, serviceable seats, and in-flight entertainment systems are already underway. We are also adopting proactive maintenance and refining flight schedules to enhance on-time performance.”
“Our fleet expansion will involve a combination of both narrow-bodied and wide-bodied aircraft to cater to varied network needs. The excitement and shared commitment to drive Vihaan.AI is palpable across the organisation and stakeholders will recognise the changes as the new face of Air India emerges.”
It is great to see Air India once again re-establishing itself on the global stage as a world-class leading airline, that will certainly proudly fly the flag of India for many years to come. It will be interesting to see what other plans they have in store as part of Vihaan.AI and where their fleet and route network growth takes them over the coming five years.