The last few months have witnessed interesting trends in the on-time performance (OTP) of various Indian airlines. AirAsia India was the top performer for the longest time this year, only to be replaced by another Tata carrier, Vistara.
And now, another Tata Group airline, Air India, is trying hard to improve its OTP, with noticeable results. It has also emerged that the country’s largest airline, IndiGo, which prides itself on being punctual and which has struggled in this department in the last few months, has implemented strict operational changes to get back in the game.
IndiGo pulls its socks up
Before the Tatas took over Air India, it was hardly known for its timely departures. IndiGo, on the other hand, marketed itself – and for good reasons – as being on top of things when it came to on-time performance.
But in the last three months, Air India has consistently performed better than IndiGo in the punctuality department. And now, a report by The Economic Times (ET) states that the budget carrier has implemented changes to improve its OTP.
ET has reviewed an operational circular of IndiGo, which states,
“On being informed that the last passenger is on board, the cabin door will be closed within 60 seconds. The passenger may still be in the process of settling down in the cabin.”
The carrier has also reportedly asked its pilots to reach airports at least 75 minutes before departure and ensure they are inside the aircraft at least 35 minutes before intended take-off. The airline wants all pre-departure procedures to be completed 15 minutes before take-off.
A person aware of the matter told ET,
“Critical flights with late turnarounds can have a cascading impact, as on connecting flights. They have been identified so that those have a faster turnaround time.”
Struggling with OTP
Lately, IndiGo has been slipping down the punctuality rankings, with other carriers overtaking the airline. It last topped the charts in March and, in the last few months, has faced delays, with its OTP hovering in the 80s region.
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Many feel that IndiGo’s massive size is part of the problem as it struggles with “reactionary delays,” which means that departures are late because the incoming aircraft is delayed. IndiGo also has maximum connectivity at constrained airports such as Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM), with 150-200 departures daily, so one single delay can cause a chain reaction.
Air India improves
Of the many things that the Tata Group has focused on improving at Air India is its on-time performance. In August, the carrier’s chief Campbell Wilson stated that he was not happy with the airline’s punctuality record and took matters into his own hands.
In a communication, he asked the airline’s integrated operations control center (IOCC) to report directly to him and give recommendations on improving the on-time performance.
In his communication to the employees (accessed by the Press Trust of India), he said,
“IOCC is the nerve centre of an airline. It not only manages our network of flights 24X7, 365 days of the year, it plays a crucial role in driving our OTP.”
“So, I have decided that the IOCC located at Safdarjung will henceforth report directly to me. With my authority, they will be recommending some amendments to the ways we operate and will regularly update me on the status of implementation.”
While there are still miles to go for Air India to sort out its issues, it’s good to see its management trying hard to get it back on track.
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Source: The Economic Times