Air India to introduce premium economy class in certain long haul flights: CEO

Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson on Saturday said the airline is in “deep discussions” with Boeing, Airbus and engine manufacturers for a ‘historic order of latest generation aircraft’.

The Tata-owned airline is meeting its immediate needs by leasing planes and repairing grounded aircraft, he said. The airline has finalised leases for 30 additional aircraft that will be delivered over the course of the next 12 months, beginning next week, in addition to restoring long-grounded aircraft, with more in the final stages of negotiation, Wilson said.

“Beyond these short-term additions, we are in deep discussion with Boeing, Airbus and engine manufacturers for a historic order of the latest-generation aircraft that will power Air India’s medium and long-term growth. At the risk of gross understatement, the investment will be substantial,” he said at the 118th Birth Anniversary Celebration of J.R.D Tata.

He said Air India is planning to launch premium economy class on certain international flights. The airline will increase its market share to at least 30 per cent in domestic and international routes, Wilson said.

“We’ve recently completely revamped the domestic inflight menu, and will be launching premium economy on certain long haul international flights next month,” Wilson said.

He said the short-term actions have been to replace carpets, curtains, seat cushions and covers. “To fix defective seats and inflight entertainment systems as fast as supply chains will allow… where parts are no longer available in the market, to work with the likes of Tata Technologies to design and manufacture parts ourselves,” he said.

The airline has brought nearly 20 aircraft back into service that were on the ground for years due to a lack of funds and parts, he said.

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