India deserves to have non-stop flights to more overseas destinations: Air India CEO


NEW DELHI: Air India chief Campbell Wilson stressed India deserves non-stop international service to more destinations and said the country has in some respects been unable to take control of its own destiny as it lacks a healthy one domestic aviation industry give .
So said Wilson, who is steering Air India’s massive expansion plans in terms of both fleet and routes indigo well done and Tata Airlines The coming together presents a good competitor to IndiGo’s strength.
“It should hopefully enable a market that is more sustainable and ideally profitable, which will allow airlines to invest in new products, expand their network and also push India to take its place on the global aviation stage…” said he told PTI in a recent interview.
Tata Group took over Air India and Air India Express from the government in January last year.
Currently the group includes four airlines: Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect (formerly known as AirAsia India) and Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines.
The group is also in the process of merging Air India Express and AIX Connect and Vistara with Air India.
When asked about the crisis at Go First, Wilson said it was very unfortunate.
Financially troubled low-cost airline Go First ceased operations on May 3 and is in voluntary bankruptcy proceedings.
This is not the first time an airline has failed in the country and “I think it underscores that the prevailing industry structure has not been conducive to a healthy, dynamic and profitable industry,” he said Air India CEO and manager said.
“As a result of the lack of a healthy domestic aviation industry, India is in some ways unable to control its own destiny. Some foreign airlines that have come to India have been the ones that have taken advantage of the growing Indian market.
“We continue to make sure we invest in aircraft, products, people and systems. We will have a professionally managed, expansion-oriented, high-quality airline of significant size,” said Wilson.
He also said Air India is investing US$70 billion at list price in 470 new aircraft with the express aim of offering more services, particularly international connectivity.
Hopefully, as Air India flies non-stop to more places from India and also establishes a hub, the airline will spur further broader development of the country’s aviation industry. “This will benefit everyone involved and not just the airline itself,” he noted.
As travel demand increases, India has relatively few direct international air links and overseas traffic is mainly handled by foreign airlines with connecting flights.
With this in mind, the government is working to develop an international aviation hub in the country, while Air India and IndiGo are also expanding their international operations.
“We believe India deserves non-stop international service to many more destinations around the world than it currently has.”
“To achieve this will require investment by Indian airlines in aircraft, systems and people. At least I think it’s in the national interest,” Wilson said.
Asked if India is reluctant to give more bilateral flight rights to foreign airlines, Wilson said that for some reason India does not have a strong home carrier that can announce non-stop connections to the points people want to fly to.
“Since this was not the case, people were flown in by airlines that were flying to different locations across India. Now there are two airlines in India with the capacity and ambition to expand non-stop services and it is only right to give them time to prove that “meaning comes with action,” he stressed.
India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world.

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