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Vistara CEO says 'worst is behind us', flight operations have stabilised

Vistara CEO says 'worst is behind us', flight operations have stabilised
After facing significant flight disruptions recently, Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan on Thursday told the airline staff that the "worst is behind us" and operations have already stabilised. Pilot woes have forced the Tata Group airline to temporarily cut down capacity by 10 per cent or 25-30 flights daily.

While acknowledging that things should have been planned better, Kannan said it has been a "learning experience".

He also said it has been a challenging start to the new financial year and the airline faced significant operational disruption from March 31 to April 2.

"The anxiety and frustration felt by our customers was matched in even measure to the pain that all of us felt in seeing our much-loved brand drawing negative commentary from various quarters... I assure you that the worst is behind us, and we have already stabilised our operations, with our on-time performance (OTP) increasing to 89 per cent on 9 April 2024 (second highest among all Indian airlines)," he said in a message to the staff.

The full-service carrier has around 6,500 people, including about 1,000 pilots.

In the wake of the disruptions, the top management of the airline had held a virtual meeting with the pilots. One of the reasons for the disruptions was also that some section of pilots reporting sick to protest against the new contract that will result in pay revision.

According to Kannan, there were a multitude of reasons for the disruptions, including ATC delays, bird hits, and maintenance activities early last month.

"We were stretched in our pilot rosters and there was not enough resilience to withstand injects that we would otherwise have weathered. We could and should have planned better, and this has been a learning experience for us which we will review thoroughly," the Vistara chief said.

Most of the cancellations were in the domestic network and the carrier is working on plans for May and beyond.

"While the events of the last week may seem like a setback, the hallmark of our organisation has always been that we have bounced back from tough situations ' and emerged stronger.

"... I trust each of you to continue to put in all efforts to ensure that we do not let our brand, and our customer, down," Kannan said.

As we emerge from this difficult phase, he said it is this commitment to being a customer-oriented airline that will help it bounce back stronger.

The airline has also reached out to customers impacted by the cancellations and delays over the affected period.

"We have provided the necessary compensation as per the regulatory mandate, and have also offered additional service recovery vouchers for passengers whose flights were significantly delayed," the Vistara chief said.

The carrier has 70 aircraft in its fleet and is to operate more than 300 flights daily in the ongoing summer schedule.

"Dealing with disappointed customers is never easy but amidst all the chaos, we have received feedback on how some of you went beyond the call of duty to assist our customers to the extent possible," Kannan said and expressed gratitude to the pilots for cooperating and stepping up to support operations.


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