April 22, 2019
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Air India CMD says airline has legacy issues

in Delhi/India/Politics by

An Air India Airlines Boeing 787 dreamliner takes part in a flying display during the 50th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 14, 2013. | File Reuters

NEW DELHI: Post flight data firm FlightStats’s report that ranked India’s state-run carrier Air India as the world’s third worst airline, Air India CMD, Ashwani Lohani on Wednesday said the carrier has legacy issues unlike other airlines.

“No other airlines has had a merger – of Air India (International) with Indian Airlines (domestic) which happened in 2006 — like ours. There are problems and it continues. All these takes time to get it sorted,” he said, adding that the carrier has nine different types of aircraft, that makes it operations tougher, unlike most other carrier.

Unperturbed by criticism over its poor On-Time Performance (measure of airline’s punctuality in operations related to arrival and departure),  Lohani said the airline is committed towards improving it’s OTP and that there are other things like high quality service that the airline would focus on.

Lohani said Air India has improved on OTP in past one year which is between 75 per cent to 78 per cent which is good enough for a carrier which operates in remotest corners of the country with over nine different type of aircraft.

He pointed out that OTP cannot be attained by drawing a magic wand in the air.

Lohani however admitted that it would miss its yearly operating profit target of Rs 1,086 crore, but was hopeful that the airline would become fully profitable by 2022.

The airline with total debt of Rs 51,000 crore has been able to reduce its losses by Rs 5,000 crore during the last financial year as part of its turnaround plan. The total debt to AI is now Rs 46,000 crore.

Lohani also said that Air India will focus on regional connectivity as is mandated by the government of being a state-owned carrier. 

It will set up a simulator unit in the national capital by this year- end for training pilots for its ATR aircraft – a 40 to 70 seater small size plane – largely meant to be deployed for short haul operations aimed at expanding regional connectivity services connecting unserved and underserved airports.

Lohani on Wednesday said that the airline is in the process of recruiting at least 200 more pilots for its ATR operations. “We will be adding 20 more ATR planes by this year end for which we would recruit 200 pilots. Right now we have eight ATR which are flown by 70 of our pilots,” he said.

The development is a clear indication that the national carrier would share the major burden of Narendra Modi’s government’s ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to connect unserved and underserved airports, is yet to take –off.

Currently, Air India’s regional arm, Alliance Air has eight ATRs in its fleet and 70 pilots who fly these small planes for short haul operations.

The need for setting up simulators for the ATRs by Air India also comes in the wake of Indian carriers India’s civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)  on January 4 this month issuing a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) — a set of rules that govern the functioning of the Indian civil aviation sector in this regard.

Trump slams leaks alleging compromising info in Russia hands

in Delhi/India/Politics/World by

President-elect Donald Trump. (File photo)

NEW YORK: US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday furiously denied explosive claims that Russian intelligence has gathered compromising personal and professional information on him.

“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” he said on Twitter, reacting to unsubstantiated allegations in reports circulating in US media.

“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” he said.

His tweets came hours before he was scheduled to hold a news conference in New York, his first in nearly six months. 

Even before the allegations surfaced widely in US media on Tuesday, reporters had been expected to grill the billionaire Republican over his ties to Russia after the US intelligence community concluded Moscow interfered in the November election to tip the race in Trump’s favor.

Intelligence chiefs last week presented America’s incoming 45th president, as well as current President Barack Obama, with a two-page synopsis on the potentially embarrassing information in Russian hands, according to CNN and The New York Times, who cited multiple unnamed US officials with direct knowledge of the meeting.

Russia denied the claims, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling journalists: “The Kremlin does not have compromising information on Trump.”

Punjab’s CM will be from Punjab: Kejriwal

in Delhi/India/Politics by

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal | AP

CHANDIGARH: Delhi chief minister and national convener of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal put at rest the speculations on him being the party’s chief ministerial candidate for Punjab as he said that the chief minister of Punjab would be from the State itself.

The speculation was triggered following statement by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia at a gathering in Mohali on Tuesday calling upon people to vote for Kejriwal who, he claimed, would solve all their problems.

Addressing a rally in Patiala, Kejriwal said he was the chief minister of Delhi and had huge responsibility. “I am Delhi’s CM, Punjab’s CM will be from Punjab,’’ he said. However, he said that whoever is made the Punjab CM, it will be his personal responsibility that all promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party are fulfilled. He added that the party could make him personally accountable for the affairs in the State.

He mocked at Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, saying he woke up thrice on Tuesday night after nightmares about the latter being Punjab chief minister. The AAP is seeking to wrest power in the State where the BJP-SAD combine has been at the helm for last ten years.

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