Maharaja: You do not sound like a half-Mallu at all, not even a cross-breed lol! With your baseless regional paranoia about "south indians" and keralites, you come across more like one of those Shiv Sena/BJP Shakha Adhikari types, instigating Maharashtrians against English speaking Keralites taking away jobs! The solution ofcourse is not learn English yourself, but to beat up others who do!
Infact it is the Shiv Sena backed labor unions at Air India who would not like a major hub to be develop outside of BOM which is where these characters are so active. I think you are representative of that crowd.I find it really sad that some Indians dont see themselves as Indians but Marathi, Punjoo, Mallu or whatever! Makes me sick!
Ok now to get back! I also do not think this AICL is a very good idea, but not for the reasons you put across. This whole AICL idea comes across as a post-retirement plan thought out by some genius at AI, and picked up by politicians in Kerala and New Delhi pandering to their vote banks. Expect a nasty cat-fight between the Congress and the BJP claiming "credit" for this half-baked venture, until it falls flat, when it will quickly become the others fault!
Couple of questions here. Other Gulf carriers are managing to operate with full service levels on these Kerala-Gulf routes. Why not AI? AI does not provide any of the sort of IFE as provided by the ME carriers. Based on my limited experience with SIN/KUL and some domestic flights, i would have thought AI is better in the Food dept, but here too as you say things are very bad! The question is why? What are they doing wrong?
Well, i think AI should be taking a long, hard look and try to solve these problems. I believe that AI has failed to build up BOM as a decent hub, connecting Africa and the ME to the SEA. Thats what I think AI's role should be, and building up another Hub would be stretching themseleves too thin.
The Kerala-Gulf market is no doubt very important in the overall scheme of things. But AI should be working the Kerala market within the framework of the current brand itself. Instead of sub-branding, they should be sub-hubbing and work on proper scheduling. For example, some aircraft could be based in COK/TRV and "rotated" back to BOM on a weekly basis for maintainance(A-checks?). Right now, the A310/B742 aircraft typically must return to BOM within 72 hours of leaving base. This is why AI has these flights running from COK/TRV/CCJ to BOM in the middle of the night/early mornings! These are essentially ferry flights returning to base. Instead, the 310's could be BASED at COK and rotated back to Base-HQ every week. With 6 A310's at COK (say), a convenient daily BOM-COK-BOM run could also be scheduled. AI could actually become a player in the Kerala domestic market! Similarly, DEL could also be developed as a separate sub-Hub.
IC is already doing that on the domestic front. A320's are based overnight at over a dozen locations across the country like AMD, CCU etc. These aircraft are "rotated" back to base at DEL every week or so, to be replaced by other aircraft. This kind of round-robin scheduling ensures better utilisation of the entire fleet as compared to the conventional Hubbing method that AI uses.
Some have quoted IC launching Alliance Air as an example. But its one thing for an airline (like IC) with 65 aircraft to set up a subsidiary with a dozen aircraft. Also the dozen aircraft transferred to Alliance were the ageing, high-cycle 737 aircraft that IC couldnt find buyers for. Also some babus realised too late in the day, that the A320's were too heavy to be operated to destinations like IDR, BHJ and the old COK. When a dozen private carriers closed down in the early nineties, a whole bunch of 737 pilots who had deserted IC came back in droves, and willing to be employed at a fraction of what they were paid earlier! They could not be employed on contract by IC itself! Finally, Transferring the IC owned 737's out to a subsidiary also helped the accountants, err, "balance"/cook the account books at IC as well!(I am not at liberty disclose much, but there was plenty of cooking involved, albeit beneficial to IC!). Also, Alliance is hardly a separate brand and IC handles all the ticketing and handling for CD.
But AI, with barely 2 dozen aircraft of its own, putting aside 8-10 aircraft into this sub-fleet with a different configuration and branding is sheer madness. There are no benefits that could accrue through creative Accounting either, atleast not to Air India, officials i cant say!
So considering all this, I dont think putting together a separately branded carrier in COK is a very good idea.
AI DOES need a subsidiary, but what they need is "Air India Express" and not "Lungi Express". AI needs a domestic subsidiary to operate feeders, basically what the ill-fated Vayudoot was once supposed to do. THAT is what AI needs to SERIOUSLY consider. The new Vayudoot, with half a dozen CRJ200 type aircraft, could operate as "Air India Express", feeding pax into mainline AI flights from destinations like NAG, AMD, GOI, PNQ and others. The 50/70 seat jets are perfectly suited for this role. In addition, Better synergy of operations with IC could also help drop the BOM-DEL tag on many intl. sectors and result in better operational efficiency. AI pax could complete check-in and immigration at DEL and board IC flights for BOM and can be transferred onto AI flights. AI could also operate turnaround flights on its own eqpt to destinations like DEL and BLR at convenient times using the 310 sized aircraft. Arrangements should be made to enable seamless transfer.
DEL and COK are ideal to be developed as "sub-hub's" as previously stated, but WITHIN the existing brand.
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