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Air India all set to revamp flight schedules to improve OTP: AI’s CEO

To improve the carrier's on-time performance (OTP), Air India will revamp flight itineraries, hold nightly meetings, and ask staff to accurately report aircraft delays and their causes, said Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Campbell Wilson on Friday.

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New Delhi: To improve the carrier’s on-time performance (OTP), Air India will revamp flight itineraries, hold nightly meetings, and ask staff to accurately report aircraft delays and their causes, said Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Campbell Wilson on Friday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) granted permission to Air India in March of this year to fly 2,456 flights each week during its summer schedule, which started on March 27 and ends on October 22.

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Wilson said in his memo to staff that the airline is investing in stronger “customer-facing technology” to proactively notify passengers about schedule changes or delays in advance and allow them to self-change flights if appropriate.

“During my discussion with fellow Air Indians and our customers, a very common request is the need to improve our punctuality and schedule reliability, and to recover better when there is a disruption,” he said.

According to the DGCA, Air India’s on-time performance in July was 83% at Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai metro airports, which was lower than that of AirAsia India, Vistara, and Go First.

Wilson stated that the airline’s cross-functional team, which included staff from various divisions including network planning, engineering, ground services, and integrated operations control centre (IOCC), thoroughly examined the upcoming flight schedule for the upcoming winter season in order to improve OTP (October 22 this year to March 23 next year).

The IOCC, which controls the airline’s network of flights 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is its nerve centre and is essential to achieving high OTP.

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Wilson claimed that the aforementioned team thoroughly examined “block time,” “airport-connecting time,” as well as aircraft rotations and flight crew rotations for the winter schedule.

Block time is the amount of time a flight needs to travel between leaving the departure airport’s boarding gate and arriving at the destination airport’s boarding gate.

“A significant number of improvements have been identified, and we will seek the airport slots necessary to effect these,” Wilson noted.

According to him, it’s unlikely that Air India would get all the slot modifications it requests for this winter.

“But now that we know what we want we can progressively refine it season-by-season. And most importantly, we now have a robust and cross-functional process to better plan future seasons’ schedules,” he added.

After winning the bid for the airline on October 8 of last year, Tata Group assumed ownership of the company on January 27.

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Wilson, who spent 26 years working for Singapore Airlines Group, joined Air India in July.

According to Wilson, the airline instituted a “nightly pre-planning meeting” so that the IOCC could foresee issues and create solutions with important stakeholders to guarantee high OTP.

He claimed that the airline is placing more attention on the efforts taken to reduce recurrence and more emphasis on the fundamental causes of delays.

“It behoves all of us to accurately report delays and their causes,” Wilson added.

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