Air India CEO: Air India targets 30% aviation market share in next 5 years

Air India is aiming for 30% domestic and international market share over the next five years, the Tata-owned airline’s managing director and CEO, Campbell Wilson, said on Tuesday.

Currently, the airline has a domestic market share of 10% and an international market share of 12%.

Air India, which was acquired by the Tata Group in January, is expanding its fleet and services.

Wilson described the Air India revival not as a “T20 match” but as a “test match”. The airline is aiming to restore its reputation first, he said, adding “We have evidence that progress is being made.”

A recovery plan for the loss-making carrier, named “Vihaan.AI”, is currently underway. It is a comprehensive transformation plan that sets out a roadmap for the next five years.

As part of the plan, the airline is working to get grounded planes back into the air, procure spare parts and perform a general refurbishment.

There are reports that Air India is having a host of issues such as broken seats and service issues in some wide-body jets. In response to the information, the Air India chief said the airline hopes “to have all business class seats in wide-bodied aircraft in good working order by the end of the month and all business class seats economy by the beginning of next year”.

Regarding when the airline’s financial turnaround is expected, Wilson said it would be the culmination of many things.

Many jumbo jets have already been refreshed and many contracts have been renegotiated, Wilson said. Regarding the issue of financial recovery, he said it would be “the culmination of many things”.

Air India has also doubled the number of people in call centers to reduce turnaround times, he added.

Wilson said the rolling will be the first phase where all the things that have tarnished the brand will be identified and addressed.

The next phase will be liftoff, where it will accelerate investments in systems, processes, people and equipment, including aircraft. After that, it will be the climb phase for the airline, he said.

Over the next five years, Air India will seek to triple the size of its fleet, he added.

Currently, the Tata Group has four airlines: Air India, Air India Express, Vistara and AirAsia India.

Over the next 15 months, Air India will introduce five Boeing wide-body aircraft and 25 Airbus narrow-body aircraft. In addition, 21 Airbus A320 neo, 4 Airbus A321 neo and 5 Boeing B777-200LR will be leased.

Air India’s narrow-body fleet numbers 70 aircraft, of which 54 are in service. The others, 16 in number, will be gradually returned to service by early 2023. The airline has 43 wide-bodied aircraft, 33 of which are in operation. The rest will be back in service in early 2023, according to a company statement.

With PTI inputs