Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Delhi Becomes Air India’s New Hub Amid Chaos

Aviation Daily Nov 16 , 2010 , p. 11  

Neelam Mathews

Air India moved its hub operations away from Frankfurt Airport to New Delhi International Airport (DIAL), effective with the start of its winter schedule on Nov. 1, and is now the airport’s largest customer.

The carrier also started shifting its domestic operations from the old domestic terminal at Delhi International to the new Terminal 3 on Nov. 11, a move that will integrate domestic and international operations under one roof. With a fleet size of 135 aircraft, Air India’s domestic network covers 63 destinations and 52 international points.

The shift has not been smooth. “The preparedness has been abysmal. The only consistency Air India has shown is a lack of concern and poor communication,” said an official.

The merger of Air India and Indian Airlines has not helped because of a lack of synergy. Flights are delayed as a result with limited handlers unable to load baggage. The carrier recently brought in 60 handlers on an emergency basis from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru to help out, says an Air India spokesman.

A top management committee of senior executives in four groups of 10 each has been formed to work 24 hr. per day to sort out issues related to the turmoil at Terminal 3.

Meanwhile, Air India’s pullout from Frankfurt has resulted in added aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues for the Delhi airport.

Lufthansa, which has a code share with Air India to and from India and beyond to the U.S. and Europe, will lose some revenue from the move.

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