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Air India is now Maharaja of skies

New Delhi, Jan 3 () : Finally Indian Maharaja Air India is twirling his moustache and with his sweet smile and a bow is welcoming passengers dumping Jet Airways and coming back to the national carrier.

Figures show that financial management, poor performance and anti-customer attitude are now a thing of the past for Air India. In April, its passenger share was only 15.4% and in November it stands at 21%.

Aviation Minister Ajit Singh known for his running the ministry and the national carrier with an iron hand says cost cutting exercise is giving dividends. The idea is to turn surplus before paying the interest and loans.

Rohit Nandan, Air India CMD worked on the routes and tweaked it. A core group was formed to come up with new routes. Looking at Kingfisher operations, Air India worked on the Mumbai- New Delhi route which is patronized by corporate sectors and offered 18 flights a day ,one every hour till mid-morning.

On international routes, Air India put up flights in the noon which offered connectivity to passengers to other destinations which was convenient. Its Delhi operations has increased from 54 flights a day to 90. On the international sector per passenger yield rose by 8.5 % and in the domestic sector it rose by 8.5% from April- November 2012. In November per passenger yield stood at Rs 8826.

Indi Go, the no-frills airlines’s attraction for passengers was its punctuality and Air India’s negatives were its late arrivals and cancellations. Now the on-time arrival and departure performance is 80%.

Air Express operating in the Gulf sector has shifted its hub to Kochi since it was facing crew shortage and technical snags due to which flights were curtailed. Many Gulf Malayali associations called for a boycott and finally it has decided to pull up its belt after Spice Jet entered the scene.

Yet another boost is the induction of Dreamliner aircraft which is fuel-efficient and can operate at many small airports. Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Europe and South Asian countries are profit-making routes for Air India.