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June 11, 2010

Air India to replace aged
aircraft in Gulf sector

Filed under: Airlines — aerotowfeeq @ 5:23 pm

These decisions were taken at a special board meeting of the airline’s parent company, National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL), held in New Delhi on Thursday.

The meeting was convened at the proposal of UAE-based Indian businessman M. A. Yousuf Ali, who is also a member of Air India’s board of directors,  following a series of events that affected the airline’s service to Gulf-based passengers in the recent months.

Speaking to Khaleej Times from New Delhi, Ali said the meeting held at Airlines Bhavan was attended by NACIL chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav, Air India directors and other key officials from the Gulf sector and India.

“CMD Jadhav has instructed the officials to make sure that there is never a flight delay of more than two hours,” said Ali. To achieve this aim, the officials have decided to replace the aged fleet flying in this sector. “Old aircraft in the Gulf sector will be replaced by newer ones.”

Two specific solutions have been put forward to minimise the frequent delays caused by technical snags.

“An aircraft will be stationed at Calicut Airport on standby mode for replacing any flight (on this route) which might be delayed due to any technical reasons. A fully equipped technical support team will be based at Trivandrum airport to service the Kerala-Gulf sector more efficiently,” said Ali.

The standby aircraft and the technical support team in Trivandrum are expected to be activated whenever there is a considerable delay in the operations of any flight on the Gulf route.

The choice of Calicut and Trivandrum for these measures was justified by the fact that the highest number of Gulf-bound passengers fly from these airports. Without a local base in the Gulf countries, Air India and its low-budget carrier Air India Express often require help from India to solve technical problems. “To address this, we are also planning to have tie-ups with locally based airlines to help us with emergency maintenance service,” he said.

A follow-up meeting on Air India-Gulf Region will be held at Air India office in Dubai on June 16. CMD and other senior officials of NACIL and all regional managers of Air India in the Gulf sector will attend the meeting.

Ali, who is also the managing director of EMKE Group, said the meeting would also discuss the matters mentioned in the memorandum recently submitted by the Indian Media Forum in the UAE, which demanded an inquiry into the state of affairs of Air India Express and rectify the constant problems faced by the airline.


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