Mum­bai be­comes AI’s sec­ond hub

Hav­ing moved its en­tire oper­a­tions to Mum­bai’s in­ter­na­tional air­port from Oc­to­ber 1 de­spite higher rentals, Air In­dia has now made Mum­bai its sec­ondary hub in the re­gion.

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Just a couple of months into the job, ‘Turn­around man’ Ash­wani Lo­hani, CMD, Air In­dia, likes the chal­lenge he has de­cided to take up. “It’s a good job. All of us know what needs to be done,” he says.

To start with, he is look­ing at im­prov­ing the OTP (on-time per­for­mance). “It is fairly de­cent right now at about 85-90 but it has to be much higher. We also want to im­prove pas­sen­ger con­ve­nience, bet­ter in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, and im­prov­ing util­i­sa­tion. We are also look­ing at new routes and have looked at a new route re­cently but it’s a com­pli­cated ex­er­cise and it’s too early to re­veal it,” he says, adding, “The work cul­ture also has to im­prove, but I don’t think in­ter­fer­ence from the gov­ern­ment is an is­sue. There are def­i­nite plans to im­prove and up­grade the prod­ucts.”

A to­tal of 63 Air In­dia flights have been shifted to Mum­bai’s Ter­mi­nal 2 (T2) – 11 in­ter­na­tional and 52 do­mes­tic. This in­te­gra­tion will not only help the na­tional car­rier of­fer ease of trans­fer to its pas­sen­gers, but will also be a big thing for Mum­bai.

Star Al­liance has al­ready booked 1,000 flights per week. Mark Sch­wab, CEO, Star Al­liance, says, “There are 11 Star Al­liance car­ri­ers op­er­at­ing into Mum­bai and this in­te­gra­tion gives them an op­por­tu­nity as well to move their pas­sen­gers seam­lessly from T2 on the Air In­dia net­work. It also al­lows this air­port and the city to com­pete more ef­fec­tively with other air­ports and other hubs in the re­gion. It is just a mat­ter of time when we will see not only more ser­vice, big­ger air­planes but much larger num­ber of con­nec­tions hap­pen­ing through Mum­bai.” Air In­dia re­cently cel­e­brated the first an­niver­sary of its mem­ber­ship with Star Al­liance.

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