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Air India’s inaugural departure to Delhi from Dulles (Photo: J David Buerk Photography)

Air India Expands Route Map Amid Difficulties

As the privatization of Air India is underway, the airline convened a meeting with airline staff on Monday to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, the airline suffered a setback before the meeting as an oil company announced that it planned to cut its fuel supply to the airline at six airports including Delhi and Mumbai from Friday, Oct. 18 if the airline did not make its monthly payment. In response to the threat, an airline spokesman stated that the issue will be “sort out” soon.

“The airline has taken all measures to ensure flights are not disrupted and passengers not inconvenienced at all,” said the spokesman. The cash-strapped airline currently owes a debt of Rs 60,000 crore ($844 million USD).

In the meantime, the airline is suffering a wave of pilot resignations. According to ANI, around 120 Airbus A320 pilots have resigned. “Even we pilots are not able to withdraw our salary on time,” a resigned pilot told ANI.

“The pilots are first hired on a contractual basis for five years with a low salary, they are hopeful of getting a salary hike and promotion as they gain experience, but to no avail,” he added.

The pilots believed other Indian carriers such as Indigo, GoAir and Vistara are better options currently for A320 pilots. In addition, IndiGo is the world’s biggest customer for the A320neo family with a current order exceeding 350 aircraft.

Despite the difficulties the cash-strapped Air India is facing, it is still expanding its route map. Earlier this year, Delhi to Toronto services was launched.

Air India announced a new three times weekly flight from Amritsar to London Stansted Airport beginning on Oct.31. The airline will operate the route using one of its Boeing 787-8s.

Stansted Airport is trying to develop long haul services and Ken O’ Toole, Chief Executive Officer of the airport, believes that the new route is “fantastic news.”

“India is an important and popular destination for UK residents, both for tourism and business interests,” he added.

Will Lee
Will Lee
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