Air India (AI) will invest $200 million towards its pilot training facilities as the airline expands its fleet and network, The Hindu Businessline (HBL) has reported. In February, AI placed a large order for 470 planes, spending around $70 billion (based on published list prices) in a deal with Airbus and Boeing. Apart from this, the airline is also leasing planes to add new destinations to its network.
To continue with its expansion, the airline is also spending on training facilities for cabin crew, engineers, and ground staff. To this end, AI will partner with plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, the HBL report said.
Speaking on the subject, Air India's Managing Director and CEO Campbell Wilson told HBL, "On the simulator side the investment is of $200 million to build capabilities not just for Air India but for others."
Air India leasing planes
The erstwhile public carrier, which is now a part of the Tata Group, is leasing 11 wide-body planes, of which six have already been inducted in its fleet, and five others will be added by March 2024. Not only this, but the airline has also leased 25 A320 NEO planes to its fleet; four of these 25 have already been inducted, while the remaining 21 will be inducted by March 2024, the report said.
"The wide-bodies will be used to expand our network internationally as well as add frequencies on the international segment. The A350 will operate domestically during the first quarter of next year and then operate on international routes," Wilson told HBL.
Air India CEO on Vistara's merger
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has agreed to Vistara's merger with AI, and the airline is waiting for clearance from international competition regulators, Wison told HBL. The National Company Law Tribunal's approval is under process. Air India plans to phase out the brand Vistara as and when Air India product begins delivering services that match Vistara's or higher, the report added.
Air India's new logo
Air India unveiled its new brand identity on August 10 as a part of its transformation plan since being taken over by the Tata Group. The new logo takes inspiration from the iconic Indian window shape used by Air India and transforms it into a gold window frame. The new symbol 'The Vista' signifies limitless possibilities, progressiveness, and the airline's confident outlook for the future, the airline had said in a press release.
DGCA actions against Air India
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has conditionally reactivated Air India's approved training organisation (ATO) for a period of 30 days. Previously, DGCA suspended Air India's Airbus and Boeing Simulator facilities located in Hyderabad and Mumbai, respectively. The decision was taken after the regulator found several "lapses" during a spot check. With the suspension of all Air India’s simulator facilities in the country, no pilot of the airline can undergo licence renewal or flight refresher courses.
Furthermore, DGCA acted against Air India's Chief of Flight Safety by suspending him for a month. The airline continues to be penalised after the regulator found irregularities in its internal audits in July.