Now Air India to use iPads for work. Airline set to upgrade technology

In a bid to compete with its rivals, Air India is investing in technology and exploring the use of iPads for work.

The national carrier is exploring the use of iPads on its flights to help the pilots and crew, especially to remove the bulky cockpit crew manuals from the planes to reduce weight.

In over a decade, Air India has not hired anyone for internal IT department but now due to competition and a far more tech-friendly government, it is looking for IT investments.

"Air India has initiated a strategic move to use Cloud as a platform for creating IT infrastructure to avail the benefit of opex and payper-use models. E-file (paperless files) launched in January '15 is first Cloud adoption in Indian Data Center by AI," Mukesh Sareen, deputy general manager of IT at the airline told Economic Times, adding “AI is looking at migrating more applications to the cloud. Migration will largely depend on expiry of support on internal IT infrastructure."

Sareen told the financial daily that in the past the movement to the cloud had been slowed by security concerns and the lack of data centres in India, adding that now the ecosystem for cloud deployment had improved.

Roughly, IT spend at Air India is 3% of operating costs, whereas other private airlines spend between 5 and 8%. It has been constrained due to its constant need to be bailed out by the government, experts told ET.
"They lag their private sector rivals in technology. But now, with the new government's pro-tech thinking, the idea is that investing in IT systems will help the airline compete with the private sector. You cannot offer new types of loyalty programmes with outdated technology," Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO and chief analyst at Greyhound Research, told ET. Gogia expects more public sector organizations to follow Air India down the path of technology upgradation.

Air India presently has a tender to buy technology to help the airline centralise IT governance and keep a greater control over the programmes being run on its network.

"AI had partial central control over all 7,000 devices plugged into its network. Implementing the active directory will enable AI to have central control which is more of a necessity for managing the IT infrastructure," Sareen told ET.

(Image: Indiatimes)
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