iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 14, 2013
Air India (AI) will restart Dreamliner operations from May 15 with the first flight from Delhi to Kolkata. The first international flight with the Boeing 787 will restart from May 22. The entire Air India board will be on the Delhi-Kolkata flight.

Battery problems forced airlines across the globe to ground the Dreamliner in January.

Aviation minister Ajit Singh said the ailing national carrier would cut costs to the tune of Rs. 2,000 crore in the current fiscal year (2013-14).

While monetisation of its assets in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Coimbatore alone would generate additional funds Rs. 1,000 crore, oil companies are expected to provide concessions of Rs. 500 crore to AI.

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The airline would also generate additional revenue of over Rs. 500 crore through slashing  staff costs, savings from interest on loans and working capital and booking agency commissions.

As reported by HT earlier, AI has begun implementation of the committee report on cost-cutting measures. One of the main recommendations included serving only tea, coffee, cold drinks, peanuts and biscuits free of cost to economy passengers.

The airline would evolve a functional model taking best practices of low-cost carriers while retaining the core services of a full-service carrier, said Singh.

The airline will take delivery of eight Boeing 787s by the end of December, said Singh, adding, that the state-owned carrier has 27 Dreamliners on order.

The national carrier would begin full-scale global operations with these planes from Delhi to Birmingham and Sydney to Melbourne from August, Rome and Milan from October and Moscow from early next year.

Singh refused to divulge the amount of compensation the US aircraft maker would give to AI but said that the airline has set up an internal committee to talk to Boeing on the issue.

Referring to financial projections for 2013-14, Singh said AI's total revenue was expected to jump 20% to Rs. 19,393 crore from Rs. 16,130 crore in 2012-13 and net loss was likely to decline to Rs. 3,989 crore from Rs. 5,198 crore.