Air India will redesign flight schedules, hold nightly meetings, and ask employees to accurately report flight delays and their causes to improve the carrier’s on-time performance (OTP), Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Campbell Wilson said on Friday.
The airline is acquiring better “customer-facing systems” to proactively alert fliers about schedule changes or delays in advance, and enable them to self-change flights where relevant, Wilson stated in his communique to employees.
“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.
Air India’s on-time performance at four metro airports — Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai — was 83 per cent in July, lower than that of AirAsia India, Vistara and Go First, according to the DGCA.
Wilson said that in order to improve OTP, the airline’s cross-functional team, which had employees from various departments such as network planning, engineering, ground services, and integrated operations control centre (IOCC), comprehensively assessed the upcoming flight schedule for the winter season (October 22 this year to March 23 next year).
Wilson said the aforementioned team conducted a full review of “block time”, airport-connecting time as well as rotations of aircraft and the flight crew for the winter schedule.
The time taken by a flight from leaving the boarding gate of the departure airport and reaching the boarding gate of the arrival airport is known as “block time”.
“A significant number of improvements have been identified, and we will seek the airport slots necessary to effect these,” Wilson noted.
Air India is unlikely to get all the slot changes it would like for this winter season, he said.
“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.
Wilson, who was with Singapore Airlines Group for 26 years, joined Air India in July.
Wilson said the airline had introduced a “nightly pre-planning meeting” so that the IOCC could pre-emptively identify risks and develop solutions in conjunction with key stakeholders to ensure high OTP.
The airline, he said, is focusing more strongly on the root causes of delays and placing greater emphasis on the steps taken to mitigate recurrence.
“It behoves all of us to accurately report delays and their causes,” Wilson added.