Air India's low on-time performance due to 'legacy issues': Ashwani Lohani
Seeking to link Air India's failure to ensure timely operations of its flights to "legacy issues", Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani on Wednesday said the low on-time performance (OTP) is the symptom of a disease "which we have identified".
Lohani, interacting with a group of mediapersons, said OTP can't be the sole criterion to judge performance of an airline like Air India considering the complexity of its operations.
His comments come in the backdrop of a survey ranking Air India as the third worst performing airlines in the world.The government-owned airline has already challenged the findings of the survey.
"(Low) On-time performance is the symptom and not the disease. And we have identified the diseases which everybody knows," Lohani said, in an apparent reference to the merger of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines into one entity -- Air India.
"Once those (issues) are resolved, the OTP will also improve further," he said.
He said Air India operates nine types of aircraft and flies to over 100 destinations, including airports abroad, unlike other carriers who have sort of "shuttle service" operations.
"In such a complex operation, an airline can't be judged simply on one parameter, OTP alone. There are other parameters like catering, occupancy and yield as well, (these) should also be taken into consideration."
Significantly, Lohani had in the past blamed "merger" for the slide of the national carrier. "A merger that really never happened and in the process resulted in a chaotic situation is at the back of all ills that we are currently witness to," Lohani had said in a hard-hitting blogpost last year.
The Air India Chief also said that he was "happy" with the prevailing mechanism for measuring airlines OTP at the four airports -- Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru -- which is under review of the aviation regulator DGCA after the budget carrier IndiGo found fault with the system, particularly at the Mumbai airport, in the wake of its sharply declining on-time performance.
He said the carrier's OTP in the last two years has definitely "improved" while acknowledging that the schedule integrity of all airlines has not been the same in this winter.