Friday, September 23, 2011

Fuel price hike adds to Air India woes,incurs Rs650 cr additional expense

NEW DELHI: Rising fuel prices have imposed an additional burden of Rs 650 crore on the state-owned carrier Air India during April-August, which is struggling to keep afloat.

"On account of the increase in fuel prices the airline incurred an additional expense on fuel of Rs 650 crore in the period April-August 2011, vis-a-vis last year," a statement issued after the performance review of Air India by Civil Aviation Minister Vyalar Ravi said.

According to the review, the airline managed to reduce its operational losses from Rs 507 crore in April 2011 to Rs 266 crore in August 2011.

The airline's operational performance in August 2011, showed a significant improvement over the corresponding month last year, while passenger revenue went up by 12.3 per cent, from Rs 889 crore to Rs 998 crore.

Further, the on-time-performance (OTP) of the carrier improved significantly in September 2011, and was over 80 per cent on the domestic and international network.

Among other things, the Minister asked the airline to focus on areas like appointing independent food tasters in order to monitor and enhance the quality of the food being served on board; improving the OTP at all stations across the network so that the targeted load factor of 93 per cent in 2015 is achieved soon; and promoting the brand in the domestic and international markets.

Ravi also asked Air India to work on coordinating the activities of the Cabin and Operating Crew so that delays due to the crew are reduced to the minimum.

Further, he said Air India should have a re-look at the block times of arrival and departure to improve on-time punctuality, and enhance network connectivity across Tier II and Tier III cities.

Besides, the airline was also asked to focus on safety requirements and carry out a study on rostering pattern so that there is no under-utilisation of crew at various lay-over points.

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