Will increase revenue: AI chief

Air India will look at ways to boost its revenue through a slew of measures such as increasing ancillary and cargo earnings as well as rationalising catering, according to airline’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Pradeep Singh Kharola.

The top official at the national carrier also hinted that there could be increased frequencies on long-haul routes and perhaps even a sixth destination in the U.S. through better utilisation of its existing aircraft that fly on these routes, such as its Boeing 777s. Air India’s flights to the U.S. account for nearly 20% of its revenue through flight operations.

The airline top brass is tasked with cutting down losses at the national carrier as well as preparing a road map for Air India after the government failed to attract private players for a 76% stake in the debt-laden airline.

“We will explore innovative ways to increase ancillary revenue such as advertisement through in-flight entertainment, raise our cargo earnings by 30% as compared to last year, monetise land assets and bring down expenses on catering through better tendering and contract management,” Mr. Kharola told
The Hindu
in an interview.

Losing market share

Earlier this week, the airline invited bids for advertisement rights on cabin and hand baggage tags. It has also recently appointed Ambassador Sky Chef as its new caterer. He added that the airline had already seen an increase of 20% in cargo revenue during the first quarter this year but did not share the exact figures. He said that better marketing as well as simpler procedures for cargo services had helped the airline.

Air India has been losing its domestic and international market share over the past few years.

The CMD did not say whether the airline was planning to buy or lease more aircraft. Air India, along with subsidiaries Air India Express and Alliance Air, has a fleet size of 161 aircraft and expects a delivery of eight more A320 Neos by 2019.

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