Air India all prepared to treat its passengers like ‘Maharajas’

The Air India logo is seen on the facade of its office building in Mumbai, India, July 7, 2017. Picture taken July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
  • Air India will make new changes like renovated ‘Maharaja’ business class seats, new cuisines and uniforms for the crew which have a subtle western touch.
  • The objective of the new changes is to become more customer-focused and increase the carrier’s market share.
  • The disinvestment of the airline has been temporarily put on hold by the government.
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Air India, which has recently been in news for running in losses, is all set to undergo a makeover of its international flights, with the renovated ‘Maharaja’ business class seats, new cuisines and uniforms for the crew which have a subtle western touch. These changes are to be unveiled this Friday, on the 22 June, by Civil Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu and his deputy, Jayant Sinha.

The first class and business class seats of the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft fleet, which operate short and long haul international routes, are expected to be replaced with the Maharaja business class seats. They will be upgraded with better ambience, upholstery, in-style night kits, in addition to other new features.

One of the officials told PTI that the objective of this much needed change is to make the carrier more customer-focussed with enviable services.

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Another official mentioned that it is just a part of the larger attempt to attract more consumers for the international flights. Understandably, efforts are being made to increase the revenue and the market share of the firm.

AI’s current market share is only 17% and it has recently been hit by major losses. The airline has been unable to pay the salary of its crew on time, for months now. AI required the assistance of banks and financial institutions for short-term loans of ₹10 billion, besides soliciting the government for another ₹20 billion.

The government was trying sell off 76% of AI’s stakes, however, the bid was closed simply because it had no buyers. One of the major reasons for the same was that the buyers were expected to buy liabilities and pay off loans for the firm once the purchase was done.

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However, Prabhu has announced that the government is not completely doing away with the idea of AI’s strategic disinvestment. However, the temporary halt put on AI’s disinvestment has given AI employees a reason to celebrate.

Prabhu further acknowledged that Air India has a very important role to play in the country’s aviation sector and promised that the government would continue to support AI through this financial crisis.
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