Days after a FlightStats report ranked Air India is the world’s third worst airlines, the state-owned carrier’s chairman and managing director Ashwini Lohani said that he is committed towards improving the airlines’ punctuality.
Lohani added Air India has “legacy issues” like no other carrier in the country. “No other airlines has had a merger (with Indian Airlines) like we did... there are problems, and it continues... all these takes time to get sorted,” he said.
Air India has been criticised over its on-time performance, but Lohani is not all that worried. “There are other things like high quality service that we will focus on,” he said.
In the past one year, Air India has improved its punctuality. It hovers around 75% to 78%, which Lohani says is decent for an airlines with such high complexities.
He added that on-time performance is not something that can be attained by drawing a magic wand in the air.
Meanwhile, Air India has sent a letter to FlightStats, copy of which is with HT, saying that it’s data is “incorrect and misleading”, Air India “contests” the data shared and also the “veracity” of the report.
However, Lohani did admit that the state-owned airlines will miss its yearly operating profit target of Rs 1,086 crore, but he is hopeful that the company will become fully profitable by 2022.
Lohani also said that Air India will focus on regional connectivity as is mandated by the government being a state-owned carrier. All this expansion comes at a cost. It is on its way to hire and train 160 pilots for regional flights. There is additional hiring for wide body aircrafts.