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Challenges abound as Tata Sons draws up flight plan for Air India

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

New Delhi, October 20

Tata Sons’ $2.4-billion purchase of debt-ridden Air India will give the conglomerate immediate access to valuable flying rights and landing slots that will help it claw back market share from foreign rivals.

But industry executives warn any success will be a long and complicated process that could cost it more than $1 billion and require fixing myriad problems, including its worn-out fleet, poor service and the lack of a charismatic leader.

Air India, with its maharajah mascot, was once renowned for its lavishly decorated planes and stellar service championed by the airline’s founder, JRD Tata, India’s first commercial pilot.

But since the mid-2000s, its reputation has fallen as financial troubles mounted. It flew wide-bodied planes with business class seats in poor repair and grounded some of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners to use for spare parts. Customers faced many delays and staff and suppliers were not always paid on time, executives said. — Reuters

Over $1 bn needed to restore glory

Tatas will need to restore brand’s luxury reputation, say experts
Aviation industry experts said Tatas would need over $1 billion to refurbish Air India’s fleet

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