Aug 13: Issues seem to be piling up for Air India at the moment. After failing to generate interest among bidders in the stake sale process and struggling to disburse salaries on time, the national carrier is now hit with another issue due to lack of spares.
As a result, the carrier has already grounded 19 aircraft, increasing the already worrisome revenue woes of the carrier. Pilot body has alleged that the grounding of flights in addition to flight cancellations have resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the Air India.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) has written a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola expressing its concerns regarding the issue. The letter also accuses the swapping of aircraft fleets that have resulted in last minute change of inventory.
Accordingly, around 23% of Air India has been grounded due to lack of spares and this has effectively left aircraft worth $3.6 billion, close to Rs 25,000 crore, unused in the hangars. The abandoned fleet include eight Airbus A321 aircraft, which is close to half of the total number of A321 aircraft owned by Air India.
Similar reasons have also put four A319s on the ground, says the letter. The A319 aircraft forms the backbone of domestic operations, and these aircraft are used on high-density routes courtesy of its high seating capacity. The grounding of these flights will cause a saviour dent in the revenue of the carrier on a daily basis.
Among the rest of the aircraft grounded are Boeing’s 777 and 787 Dreamliner. The grounding issue is in addition to flight cancellations, rescheduling and aircraft fleet swaps, all of which have affected revenue management and utilisation of the carrier.