mrniji
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Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 9:06 am

Is this a new step towards an Indian open sly policy? The Economic Times of India reports that Indian Airlines (IC) has identified several key routes as a potential market. Since the Government of India wants to liveralize the Indian Aviation Market, IC wants to apply for several destinations, which include (citation)

According to top sources, a host of destinations like Perth, South Africa, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt and London have been identified by the Indian Airlines management.

For this, the article says, widebodies need to be introduced. The full article is available at

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/657270.cms (Now, IA may fly you to SA, Australia - in compliance with Rule 10, only summary and link)


____

I personally see Indian Media information in this context always as rumor without any credible base. But still:

- does this seem likely (me: not at all)
- what do you think about this? Would this synergize the operations with AI or rather be an obstacle for them?
- which widebodies would suit? the 330, 340, or the 777 (sorry I have to laugh imagining IC with 777  Smile - that would be the day )

I could imagine that IC might get the permission to go beyond their present destinations, but really that far...?

Waiting for inputs!
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
A330Fan1
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 9:40 am

Wow - I guess this is good, for Indian Airlines???

I have flown them many a time, both in coach and in business class - business class was what I thought generic on most airlines' coach, and economy was...worse than average, in my opinion.

Would people actually choose IC over other carriers that may serve the new proposed destinations?

-A330Fan1
 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 9:45 am

Would people actually choose IC over other carriers that may serve the new proposed destinations?

As I said, I think it is unlikely that it happens, but if then it would depend on price, on whether the flights are nonstop and whether other foreign carriers would choose to introduce the same destinations. But still it is not unlikely they flights do well.. demand is there.

I have never taken IC on international flights but hope that their product is / will be competitive... but in this regard most often the price is the most deciding factor!

[Edited 2004-05-04 02:46:28]
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
A330Fan1
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 10:13 am

hey Mrniji

I took IC international one time from CCU-BKK.

I remember the service was alright, food was OK, service was average (coach class)...I do believe that people will fly it if the price of the fares are cheaper than other carriers, otherwise I still fail to see how people would choose Indian Airlines over, say QF to Australia, SQ, TG, MH, CX or any of those airlines.

-A330Fan1

 
BritPilot777
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:00 am

If IC is to make a mark on these routes, they need to improve service to a much higher standard than it currently is. Take flights within India for example, IC doesn't even come close to the service offered my Jet Airways.

Sort out your short flights within India first and then try and explore the world.
Forever Flight
 
B747-437B
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:07 am

Take flights within India for example, IC doesn't even come close to the service offered my Jet Airways

Surely you jest. I think pretty much anyone who flies domestic routes regularly (especially since 9W's current costcutting drive went into play in December) will agree that IC has not just caught up to Jet Airways from a service standpoint, but exceeded them on most counts. They are continuing to recapture market share from Jet, although Sahara continues to show the strongest growth (both in market share as well as losses).

But anyway, to the main issue - don't hold your breath for anything like this happening anytime in the near future. Once Sunil Arora is out from IC's top spot in a year or so, the silly IC need to one-up AI at any cost will hopefully go away and the two airlines can get back to co-operating rather than wasting already scarce resources on competing against each other.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
roseflyer
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:08 am

IC is not a reliable airline that fits international standards well. "India time" is not like the rest of the modern world. Their planes can be late, and the airline does not compete well with the competition from Australia or Europe in service standards. I flew them SIN-BLR only because I couldn't connect with SQ to India. The food was decent and F class was comfortable enough for a A320, but the standards just were not up to par. India is a troubled country at times, and IC would struggle to compare. Domestically I find Jet Airways a lot nicer, but IC is acceptable because that is what you have to deal with due to their massive route network. Though I should restrict complete judgment because I have only flown on them 5 or 6 times recently.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:19 am

Compared with what has been earlier, I agree with B747-437B. I took IC in the beginning of the 90s, and there was some trouble with on-time performance. Then I took them again in the recent years, and I actually thought they were a nice airline (drink before take-off and so  Smile ). I would agree that aircrafts could be a bit more modern, but still I think the performance is doing OK. Of course, you are right when saying that SQ, QF or so are the suprerior product, but very often, in the last instance, the price is deciding!
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
B747-437B
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:35 am

IC is not a reliable airline that fits international standards well. "India time" is not like the rest of the modern world. Their planes can be late...

What are you basing these assumptions upon?

Indian Airlines actually won the Airbus Industrie award for dispatch reliability in 2002 with a 99.2% dispatch rate. This compares to Lufthansa (98.9%), Air Canada (98.8%), Air France (98.7%) and United (98.7%).

Furthermore, in the last reported period Indian Airlines logged a 88.8% on-time performance which is higher than EVERY SINGLE US major carrier (best US carrier = Hawaian 87.0%) as well as most other major international carriers (eg. Qantas 87.3%, Air France 84.5%, etc...).
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
roseflyer
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:40 am

Wow, I didn't realize it has improved that much. I flew IC a number of times in the 90s, and have avoided them recently and got that impression from many people around and family members in India. I have had bad experiences (canceling a flight with no reason given so I miss an international connection for example) with them in the past, but I take it back. I should have looked at the statistics. Way to go for IC to make up and become an ontime airline.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
B747-437B
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 11:45 am

I should have looked at the statistics

India actually has what is most likely THE best on-time performance in the world.

Air India logged 91.7% on-time, Indian Airlines logged 88.8%, Air Sahara logged 96.2% and Jet Airways 94.4% in the last reported period - giving an industry average of slightly above 91%.

Compare that to the North American average of around 75% and you see just how reliable Indian airlines are on this front.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
TKMCE
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 2:39 pm

I had the occasion to fly Indian Airlines international a couple of years back. This involved flying Ithem ones MAA SIN on A 300 immediately connecting to BKK on another Indian Airlines A 320 and then returning on their non stop direct BKK MAA A320 flight. The itinerary thus involved an ONLINE transfer at SIN (since the direct MAA BKK flight was not operating on the day I wanted to travel). IC has fifth freedom rights on SIN BKK (on their daily SIN BKK DEL flight).Despite a four hour transit time, I was a bit a apprehensive as no one I spoke to seemed to have done a transfer on Indian Airlines outside India, and I did not have a Singapore visa. But everything went without a hitch, the baggage was checked through to Bangkok from MAA, I was told to collect the boarding pass for BKK at SIN and the same was obtained without a hitch at the SATS transfer desk and the baggage arrived without problems. Return BKK MAA went also without problems. Although the flight was delayed, we were given meal vouchers and the crew handling was indeed professional. The only drawback is a lack of any IFE which can be a hassle for the 4 hour hops to SIN/KUL etc. But then having two rounds of drinks served on a 4 hour flight along with a hot meal in Coach on a heavily discounted farere compensates a lot.

A lot of commments about the poor service levels of Indian Airlines seem to be made by people who have not flown the airline anytime recently. These people seem to have automatically assumed that just because they are in private sector and Indian Airlines a govt owned carrier, the service levels of the former are automatically higher. Nothing could be further from the truth. The progress made by Indian Airlines over the last five years have been remarkable in all fronts. As Sean said, the despatch reliabilty of A320s is one of the highest, (full marks to Admiral Ramdas, the former CEO who set this in place), the marketing intitiatives are in many cases smarter than the private sector competion and the service levels very much acceptable considering the limtations the airline has being in the public sector (no luxuries like hire and fire or recruiting ony the cream of talent as the private sector does). No better evidence of this than the the fact that long before Sahara and Jet started online booking, Indian Airlines and Air India had the same up and running. In addition, the Indain Airlines website is one of the best as far as the relevance of information to the passengers is concerned (as compared to a lot of marketing big talk in Jet and Sahara and limited useful information).

Before you ask, I do not work for Indian Airlines, but having been in the industry for the last decade and being a keen observer of Indian aviation, I do not have any hesistation in giving credit to where it ios due, despite popular perception, esp outside India being to the contrary.




 
A330Fan1
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 3:55 pm

B747-437B, and TKMCE - i greatly commend both of your extensive knowledge on this topic. I agree that yes, recently airlines in India such as Indian Airlines, Air India have improved and can compete internationally on par with other major airlines. Jet Airways, no doubt when I flew, had the best first class (premier class, whatever) food that I had ever tasted - and very comfortable seats. IC, also had decently comfortable seats in F (executive class) for an A320. Granted, there will be - there IS, strong demand for services to the destinations that IC is contemplating serving. And I realize that, actually with ICs new improved service and its fast-paced determination to equal the service and quality of other major airlines (which IC has already done, they have come on par with some major intl airlines already), it will be a competitive airline in the international market, no doubt.

-A330Fan1
 
SM777
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 6:28 pm


Sean and TKMCE :

Agreed on despatch reliability.

Disagree entirely on service levels. IC still has a long way to go. I recently flew IC 866 DEL-IXC (A320, VT-EPC) and :

a. The flight was 30mins late (maybe I keep having bad experiences on IC but here's another example)

b. The 'snack' service (no choice, only veg) was some lousy dry cheese s/w and some other stuff packed in a box WHEREAS if you fly 9W 3303 on the same sector on the ATR72-500 a HOT LUNCH or SNX is served (choice of Veg and Nonveg) ....now dont tell me that IC cannot match this or that since its an A320 it flies faster than a ATR so they cant serve a hot meal......??!!

Sorry, die hard supporters of AI and IC (sarkari airlines)- can't agree with u at all on service levels or aircraft interiors. Jet is way above IC on both these parameters including things like "friendliness and interaction of cabin crew with pax"....the IC Auntyji's (most of them are) usually have a grumpy look and a "I'm doing you a big favor by serving you" attitude.

Also, there are very few countries who continue to have state-owned so-called "national" carriers.....time AI and IC were sold off to people who can make them world class airlines.

And as far as IC's ambitions to spread their international wings further go, I wish them the best of luck. The first thing that they need to do is decide on widebodies, which the various committees will take ages to decide, then go to the cabinet, who knows what kind of Civil Aviation minister we will get after 13th May, so we are looking at a long 'gestation' (or hibernation) period.....

Cheers






 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 04, 2004 8:03 pm

Indian Airlines, Air India have improved and can compete internationally on par with other major airlines.

And I repeat again. You are so right because the prices they offer are often without competition,... price is what decides the most!

Good to hear your statements... some things I also realized are confirmed by you  Smile
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
jaysit
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Wed May 05, 2004 6:03 am

"I think pretty much anyone who flies domestic routes regularly (especially since 9W's current costcutting drive went into play in December) will agree that IC has not just caught up to Jet Airways from a service standpoint, but exceeded them on most counts."

I have to disagree.
Just flew IC Bom-Del, and Jet back. While IC is not the IC of old, its still a tired operation. The A320 was a shabby mess, and while the serving of food was larger than on Jet, the quality on Jet was better with a far more stylish presentation.

IC may have improved exponentially, but it still screams "Gaabaa-mint of India." Jet, on the other hand, has been stylish and sharp on every single flight I've ever taken on them. The seat pitch, however, is horrible.

As a consolation, IC is much better than anything that the United States can offer.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
TKMCE
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Wed May 05, 2004 1:24 pm

As a consolation, IC is much better than anything that the United States can offer.

Wow! That is a tribute IC will be glad to hear. Fine Jet may have attractive food/attractive cabin crew and even offer hot lunches on a one hour hop on their turbo prop routes like DEL IXC (they better do - else how are they going to stop pax flying IC which leaves at the same time and takes only half the time!).

But, still struggling under the same bureaucratic and governmental hurdles with reservation in recruitment for everyone fro Safaiwalahs to Pilots, for IC to have achieved this much is indeed remarkable! While some may make derogatory comments about the age of some of the cabin crew of IC, keep in mind they are doing their job just like you and me , and elderly cabin crew are engaged by many US and European airlines as well. Also the service rendered by one elderly cabin steward on a MAA SIN flight handling a bunch of infants and a handful of senior citizens on a packed midnight flight with unfailing courtsey and charm was as fine a example of professional service I have come accross as any.

Also while Jet and Sahara are just around ten year old, IC was started way back in the 1905s and some of the employees have been with the company for 20 years or more. Even with such people , managing to change their mindeset and bring the service levels upto the current level and still improving is a remarkable feat.


And talking about yet another government organisation, DGCA - Director General of Civil Aviation - take a look at their website (www.dgca.nic.in)
You can see another example of a government aviation related organisation improving by leaps and bounds!

 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Wed May 05, 2004 6:28 pm

and elderly cabin crew are engaged by many US and European airlines as well.


My experience too is that it is just these, how you call elderly cabin crew, who is the most polite and patient among the stuff. Especially with senior citizens, handicapped and specially children they show much more affection, politeness and patience than anyone else. This is something I also consider of being a quality of cabin crew and service.

IC was started way back in the 1905s

I think you mean 1950s (typing mistake...)  Smile I think 1954 was the year they flagged off...
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
SM777
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Thu May 06, 2004 5:35 pm

But, still struggling under the same bureaucratic and governmental hurdles with reservation in recruitment for everyone fro Safaiwalahs to Pilots, for IC to have achieved this much is indeed remarkable! While some may make derogatory comments about the age of some of the cabin crew of IC, keep in mind they are doing their job just like you and me , and elderly cabin crew are engaged by many US and European airlines as well. Also the service rendered by one elderly cabin steward on a MAA SIN flight handling a bunch of infants and a handful of senior citizens on a packed midnight flight with unfailing courtsey and charm was as fine a example of professional service I have come accross as any.

Also while Jet and Sahara are just around ten year old, IC was started way back in the 1905s and some of the employees have been with the company for 20 years or more. Even with such people , managing to change their mindeset and bring the service levels upto the current level and still improving is a remarkable feat.


Hey TKMCE, are you a govt employee or what ? Look, lets understand one simple fact - no one's doing any favours to anyone else here. In today's world there is intense competition in EVERY sector and the weak and uncompetitive will ultimately fall by the wayside.

IC employees HAD to change their mindsets if they wanted to SURVIVE, else they would be OUT of their JOBS....so its no big deal that they have decided to MARGINALLY improve their performance/behaviour etc. Please UNDERSTAND that it took the Jets and Saharas of the world to make them do this else we as Indians would never be able to experience world class domestic travel.

If you've been following aviation, (and I keep quoting this example) look at SriLankan Airlines. A govt run airline till 1999 (or thereabouts) 40% was sold by the Govt of Srilanka to EK. EK turned it round in double quick time and today UL is one of the region's best airlines, if not among one of the world's best. As an Indian, that's the kind of dream I have for AI and IC. It's not the fault of the employees that the Airlines are not being sold off but the damn Govt of India who plays around with Civil Aviation policy like a child's toy in many ways, including appointing IDIOTS like Shahnawaz Hussain as Civil Aviaiton minister. If the employees of AI and IC pause to think logically they should GO ON STRIKE and FORCE the govt to sell off the airlines to investors, not the other way round !!

Anyway the bottomline is, Jet (and Sahara) ARE world class domestic airlines, IC is NOT and will not be till drastic measures are taken to improve, starting with a selloff. So what if IC began in 1950 and Jet 10 years ago ? What Jet has achieved in 10 years is phenomenal, and they continue to maintain their standards, despite what guys like you or Sean think (or like to believe)

I rest my case. If you still wish to live in your paradise and think IC and AI are really great, despite what is happenning around them, that's your privilege.

Cheerz

 
B747-437B
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Thu May 06, 2004 6:54 pm

What Jet has achieved in 10 years is phenomenal

If Air India was incurring the volume of losses that Jet Airways is, you folks would be jumping up and down demanding profitability at the expense of service.

You can't have it both ways. You can either give the passenger 3-course meals on china with brand new planes and make huge losses, or you can serve them simpler meals with older but equally reliable planes and cut your losses. I know I'd prefer the latter, but your mileage may vary.

As for what Jet has achieved in 10 years, I'm the first one to agree that the concepts they brought to the Indian industry were very sound to begin with. Unfortunately, they spent too much on infrastructure and when the expected growth not only slowed, but led to the market actually shrinking between 2000-2002, the debt load they had incurred began to weigh far too heavily.

Jet is a textbook case of having a great product but piss-poor management running the company. The rotating door of gora CEOs is proof of this. I think Naresh Goyal finally realized last year that he was no longer the darling of the leasing companies and when faced with a real threat of losing his planes opted for a CEO with more of a focus on cost-control. By all accounts, that is working at Jet and the cashflow crisis is gone - but the high-end product is being eroded as a result too.

As for Sahara being a world class airline, I really don't know how to respond to this. The airline is run by a bunch of monkeys who couldn't find a profit if it hit them in the head. On a loss-per-unit-revenue basis, Sahara lost more money in FY0102 than even bankrupt carriers like United did! Please don't hold them up as an example of world class anything, except maybe a world class standing joke.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
SM777
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Thu May 06, 2004 7:27 pm

My dear Sean (& TKMCE if you are reading this)

As a passenger (and 99% of passengers would think this way) I care two hoots about who the CEO of Jet is, how his relationship with Naresh Goyal is, or whether Jet is the darling of the leasing companies or not.

Nor do I care if Jet or Sahara is making money or not. What I DO care about getting great service, on time connections, friendly crew, reasonably good food, new aircraft, free upgrades from time to time, a reasonably good Frequent Flyer program etc. etc.

By all accounts, that is working at Jet and the cashflow crisis is gone - but the high-end product is being eroded as a result too.

As for Sahara being a world class airline, I really don't know how to respond to this. The airline is run by a bunch of monkeys who couldn't find a profit if it hit them in the head


Your statements above unfortunately betray your insensitivity to the customer and also insult his intelligence. I fly Jet almost once a week and I don't see any "erosion" in the high end product except that I prefer the cheese omelette to the spanish one. If Sahara is run by a "bunch of monkeys" then I don't know what to call the people who run Indian Airlines and Air India - crocodiles maybe since the airline (and some of them) has been around since the 1950's. 9W and S2 have also launched exciting marketing schemes and promotions which benefit the end customer immensely. IC has done some good ones of their own, but the leaders in marketing are also 9W and S2.

If Jet and Sahara do close down for their own internal (financial) problems, so be it. Then you can laugh all the way to The MoCA in Delhi, and proclaim from the rooftops "I told you idiots so"......till then, let me and millions of other passengers enjoy the superior service they have been providing so efficiently over the heads of your (favourite) sarkari airlines !!

If our future as flying passengers lies with 1 airline (IC = hobsons choice) so be it....till then let us enjoy and get MORE value for our money !!

Cheerz
SM777





 
TKMCE
Posts: 819
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Thu May 06, 2004 8:23 pm

Sm777

I do not want to expose your ignorance any further by giving more facts (which is not too difficult for me or for Sean either with what is available in the public domain)

All I will do is repeat what Sean has posted. Finally these frills like hot meals; bone china et all which you love so much has to be balanced out on plain economics. You have to earn a profit! As simple as that. And as Sean has said the way things are going, neither Jet or Sahara is going to get that with their high cost structure and Jet has already belatedly started realising that. Else they will end up going the way of the latest casuality in the airline sector which happened on May 1, Duo Airways!


With regards

(From a humble aviation professional - and sorry, not a sarkari one!)






 
SM777
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Thu May 06, 2004 9:10 pm

My dear "humble aviation professional" TKMCE

I am not an "aviation professional" (neither humble nor aggressive)

I have an interest in aviation (which is permitted, I hope, by people like yourself). I may not know as much as you about the intricate financial and operational details about running an airline, but I do know this - you seem to have COMPLETELY missed the point I was making.

Let me re-iterate. And if you continue to offer the same answers to the questions below, I will rest my case !

1. Do passengers care if the airline is making a loss as long as they get what they expect ? (let me give u an example : you are buying a car which you selected based on various parameters. Will you not buy it if you heard that the car company has declared a loss in its balance sheet ?)

2. If I as an air passenger are flying from A to B, and Airline 9W offers me a flight at the same time as Airline IC, with newer planes (which are quite obvious), younger and frendlier staff, possibly tastier food, better likelihood of being on time, with almost the same ticket price......I choose 9W. I don't know if it's making a loss, I don't know that 2 "gora" CEOs changed in 4 years, I don't know if Mr Goyal is paying his lease rentals on the 2-year old 737-800 or not. Who cares ? I get my service !!

What you "Aviation Professionals" seem to COMPLETELY MISS is the customer. It applies to all sectors and all products. Being an "aviation professional" you seem to have forgotten that something called MARKETING and CUSTOMER SERVICE exists in this world. Passengers make a choice based on what is AVIALABLE as a VALUE PROPOSITION to them - they dont read Annual reports nor are they privy to Accounts of Jet Airways and then make their choice of airline based on if Jet Airways can CONTINUE TO AFFORD giving them meals on bone china in J Class !!

And in any case.....if a particular airline fails to meet expectations on a continued basis the passenger can always switch to good old IC !! ....that's called CONSUMER CHOICE, in case you didn't know.

Honestly I cannot figure out your logic of argument. Obviously I am flying at FL350 and you at some other level....maybe in an Alliance Air 737-200 which is so old and rickety that it shivers even with a 5km headwind !! So continue to "enjoy" your financially viable flights on Indian Airlines and Air India, while I enjoy mine on Jet.

Cheerz
 
B747-437B
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 12:58 am

Nor do I care if Jet or Sahara is making money or not.

That is your perspective as a consumer. My perspective as an industry professional is different. My basic requirement for an airline is that it must be a viable entity, ideally one with a sustainable business plan. Fancy service, etc... are unimportant to me for the most part. I'd rather have a professional and consistent product delivered.

I don't see Sahara in that light at all, especially after having dealt with them at the corporate level. Jet is a very professional organization that I have dealt with over the years, but their focus has been misguided lately. That cost them a lot of money over 3 years, but hopefully the bleeding has now been stemmed.

And unfortunately, in an industry such as airlines with high barriers to entry and a reactive pricing/marketing environment, the financial health of a single carrier can affect the entire market. If someone like Sahara continues to offer loss-leader fares and five-star service with 30% load factors, the competition has no choice but to match the product and price in order to prevent their market share from deteriorating. In the end, that leads to not just one, but multiple carriers now struggling financially. That potentially leads to corners cut in service, safety, etc... and finally to a rebound effect once consolidation or exit takes place. This was exactly what happened in the Indian domestic market in the early 90s after the initial open skies.

So yes, if a consumer thinks about it his best interests are also served by having viable entities offering a legitimate product, rather than pie-in-the-sky dreamers offering a loss-leader in the hope of scoring some cheap brownie points.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
jaysit
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 2:39 am

As the Indian aviation industry matures all those fancy 5 course meals in Economy served on china on 1 hour legs will be a relic of the past. Air Deccan has the right marketing focus - cheap flights with few frills. With no domestic flight longer than 2.5 hours in India, why do people need meals, etc? Its because flying in India is still viewed as a luxury and with the high prices of tickets, it is exactly that.

Although the Indian middle class love their food, they are also very cost conscious and when they realize that LCCs provide adequate service that is safe and dependable, I bet IC, Jet, etc will have to ditch all the frills offered.

Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 3:44 am

I bet IC, Jet, etc will have to ditch all the frills offered.

Yes Jaysit, this might be one way looking at it. But the other is that airliners like IC, 9W and S2 can maybe better compete with LCC Air Deccan if they do offer some superior product, i.e. meals and service. Downgrading is in my eyes not an alternative in the long term

Here in Europe, people are really starting to complain and be annoyed with LH since they detrementally cut down their service due to their 'threat' from LCC's like Ryanair, Easyjet etc. Rather than gaining customers like that, they are 'selling their brand and service' which once upon a time made them popular. In my eyes the strategy to compete against LCC is not downgrading services and matching the LCCs price but to show that the product and brandname is superior... I know my position is arguable, but that's my opinion...  Smile and I do acknowledge the argument that people are very cost-conscious... this is a good debate topic

SM777, you are right to see that the people in the end care about the product. That's why I believe IC will make the run in the long-term. They have compared to 9W and S2 the BEST network and are in a good process in reducing their costs and becoming productive again. Sean points out right that the strategy of 9W and S2 might attract many customers, but results in high losses... I could met once AI and IC merged they could be a very effective and affordable airline, win-making (my hope...  Smile )
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:12 am

In any case, comparing Jet's losses - made in the throes of competition, beligerence against it by government babus, regulations demanding that all GOI employees fly IC, high ATF expenses, etc - to that of Indian Airlines and Air India is ridiculous.

First of all, IC's losses are higher than Jet's - which only goes to show how badly it is run given the SOPS handed out to IC in the form of SE Asian and Gulf routes and the insistence that babus all over India fly IC - and those babus CAN fly ! On my recent IC flight in India, the plane was packed with Maharashtra govt types generally being rude to the poor flight attendants. In fact, the idiot sitting in front of me said loudly to his colleague in Marathi (which I understand) that he would rather have flown Jet because all that IC had on board were "mataris" (Marathi for old hags). Note that the FAs on board were very attractive women in their late 30s !!

As far as Air India goes, we all know that AI's current "profits" are a nice result of the GOI freebies in the form of those bilaterals and code share arrangements it gets. However, for much of the 90s AI bled money - taxpayer money, may I add - while providing a lousy product. Why on earth an airline like AI based in India with an inexpensive labor force, flying on lucrative routes to the Gulf blew crores of tax payer rupees away is a mystery.

And that is just what the problem is: Air India and IC have bled the taxpayer's money for years; Jet at least has investors and the market to answer to. AI/IC answered to no one, but the GOI types who used it as a cash cow, and its own employees who used it as a permanent employment route. AI/IC don't make profits even after huge protectionist advantages, exclusive access to lucrative routes, and exclusive access to the public sector travelling public.

And I must say that I couldn't care less who Naresh Goyal is, and whether he hires a gora or a kaala as CEO. All I see is that the product he provides in India is equivalent to the best in the world - which is saying a lot ! Jet is spit and polish with an Indian warmth all the way (like AI used to be about a 100 years ago !!). His company's lack of profits doesn't particularly demean his position given that the entire Indian aviation sector is in the red.

Whats more, the reputation of Jet in the Indian community in the US and the UK is so high, that were they to start operations to the US or the UK, we would all insist on flying them to India.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
TKMCE
Posts: 819
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 1:16 pm

*****
Do passengers care if the airline is making a loss as long as they get what they expect ? (let me give u an example : you are buying a car which you selected based on various parameters. Will you not buy it if you heard that the car company has declared a loss in its balance sheet ?)
******


Well my friend. all over Europe there are a few thousand passengers currently wishing they did just that after the collapse of Duo. And people closer home were affected when a Belgian airline called Sabena collapsed three years back (and their poor finacial structure was no secret) and a lot of people were stranded. How were Indians affected?. Well they were operating thrice weekly to Chennai when they collapsed and left a lot of people stranded all over the world who had to shell out money again for a fresh ticket to get back home! And this was at a time when travel inurance was still literally unknown in India

The other points raised have all been already answered by Sean so I am not going into it again.

Cheers

 
jaysit
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 1:40 pm

Many privately-owned airlines around the world today (especially those in the United States), are in the red. Judging by some of the reactions on here, I guess many of you must insist on flying with state-owned behemoths fully insured against collapse by tax payer moolah.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
TKMCE
Posts: 819
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 2:13 pm

Yes!

I prefer it anytime to being stranded half away across the world with no money to get back (as was what happened to many Indians who were affected by Sabena!).


 
SM777
Posts: 129
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 3:28 pm


Well my friend TKMCE as well -

Such things can happen with :

1. Airlines
2. Banks (incl public sector ones as we have seen in India)
3. Financial companies
4. Car companies (Daewoo in recent memory)
5. FMCG companies

In todays world where the lines between these matters are so blurred, you can only hope that youve made a good choice, as a consumer.

So again to re-iterate : I will continue to enjoy superior service, benefits and privileges on Jet Airways and hope that their "financial mismanagement" as stated by "aviation professionals" improves and that they don't fold up like Modiluft/East West/Duo etc. I have no intention to fly Indian Airlines just because they made a small profit recently after DECADES of making losses, subsidized by the successive governments who kept them afloat (or airborne) on WHOSE MONEY .......Yours and Mine, my friend, assuming you too are a taxpayer !!! I don't pay taxes to keep Jet Airways or Sahara flying.

I guess you expect a passenger to check an airline's latest balance sheet or accounts before buying a ticket......that's what your argument seems to be veering towards. Well, all I can say is HAVE A GOOD DREAM. Or why don't you ask the grocer to show you HLL's or Colgate's balance sheet the next time you buy a toothpaste and see his reaction!

Cheerz
 
SM777
Posts: 129
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 5:50 pm


And that is just what the problem is: Air India and IC have bled the taxpayer's money for years; Jet at least has investors and the market to answer to. AI/IC answered to no one, but the GOI types who used it as a cash cow, and its own employees who used it as a permanent employment route. AI/IC don't make profits even after huge protectionist advantages, exclusive access to lucrative routes, and exclusive access to the public sector travelling public.

And I must say that I couldn't care less who Naresh Goyal is, and whether he hires a gora or a kaala as CEO. All I see is that the product he provides in India is equivalent to the best in the world - which is saying a lot ! Jet is spit and polish with an Indian warmth all the way (like AI used to be about a 100 years ago !!). His company's lack of profits doesn't particularly demean his position given that the entire Indian aviation sector is in the red.

Whats more, the reputation of Jet in the Indian community in the US and the UK is so high, that were they to start operations to the US or the UK, we would all insist on flying them to India.


Way to go Jaysit, my sentiments exactly !

Anything to say, TKMCE ??
 
jaysit
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:26 pm

"I have no intention to fly Indian Airlines just because they made a small profit recently after DECADES of making losses..."

I don't believe that IC made any profits this year - or the last. In spite of having access to the Singapore holiday and Gulf labor routes.

So basically, IC are also following the Jet Air model - higher service standards, lousy bottom line. Except that IC have no excuse given the SOPs handed out to them.

Btw, where exactly DID Subrato Roy pop up from? Did anyone know what the Sahara Parivar was 10 years ago???? It all sounds very cultish !
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
jr
Posts: 1043
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Fri May 07, 2004 11:47 pm

I flew IC on the DXB-MAA-DXB sector in Dec/Jan. I was pleasantly surprised by the ontime performance. Service did seem to have improved a bit, compared to a few years back when my flights on BKK-MAA-BKK were both delayed by at least an hour. Business class was decently comfortable, and the food good. And from a cost standpoint, the business class tickets were a good bit cheaper than EK on the same route, and the choice was not a difficult one in picking IC.

The interiors of the A320 did seem like they needed improvement. Is anything being done on that front with regards to upgrading the seats/interiors?

My experiences with IC over the years have been mixed, but I do see them as having a lot of potential to do good things for the market they serve, and hopefully they will...

Josh
I've flown on 9V-SPK.
 
22right
Posts: 393
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 12:14 am

I totally agree with some of the sentiments expressed above by Jaysit and SM777, that "AI/IC answered to no one, but the GOI types who used it as a cash cow, and its own employees who used it as a permanent employment route." I would even suggest that AI/IC employees treat the airline as their own personal source of (free) high-end products which are not easily available or affordable in India.

I believe this is very well evidenced by some of B747-437B's trip reports which were posted on the Trip Report forum on this site a while back as well as on airwhiners.net

Please carefully read http://www.airwhiners.net/trip_report/tr0003.htm
as an example of the unprofessionalism that is AI.

There he gleefully talks about how the AI flight crew gave him several bottles of wine (flicked from the aircraft) as gifts for himself and/or his parents.

Now, any way you look at it, that's outright stealing (or at least highly unethical). There is nothing wrong with giving gifts but at least dont use the AI inventory as your personal gift store.

This is NOT meant as a personal attack on Sean (I think he has some extremely insightful and well thought out postings on A.net. For the most part, the occasional toilet paper related posts not withstanding)  Wink/being sarcastic. But I do feel that, for an outsider, these go a long way in highlighting the attitudes and culture that has been bred over the years in these public sector airlines.

-22right

"I never apologize! I am sorry, but that's the way it is!" - Homer Simpson
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 12:57 am

I think that ALL cabin crew on ALL airlines bestow favors on colleagues. That is understandeable within reason, of course.

What I found rather interesting was that on two flights on Air India (one in J class, and one in First), I was one of a tiny handful of fare paying passengers on board. The rest were either AI family and friends of family on a foreign holiday, or GOI types of a foreign junket. Needless, to say, AI's First Class product was very disappointing as I believe it primarily caters to these two demographic groups who are quite happy to be treated to an acceptable, but far from polished front-end product.

In comparison, I was told by a friend who is now a Jet Airways captain, that Jet prohibits any automatic upgrades of friends and family from Y to J when he is flying the aircraft.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
Guest

RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 2:07 am

I wonder which aircraft they will choose

A330/340
7E7
777
 
initref
Posts: 110
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 3:11 am

Jaysit wrote: In comparison, I was told by a friend who is now a Jet Airways captain, that Jet prohibits any automatic upgrades of friends and family from Y to J when he is flying the aircraft.

I too know a few Jet, AI, IC, Deccan flight crew - here's the irony -
one of them - an ex AI pilot who now works for Jet - travels on IC with his family because he has buddies there who put them in Business, whereas if he flew on his current employer (Jet) they would all be in the back!!!

All of them frequently mention how it was great to meet some old buddy on the IC flight, sure enough majority of the pax in biz were non-revs - usually IC/AI employees or ex-employees.....

So yeah - its bad for consumers if the airline doesn't have a viable business plan, but its perfectly OK for the airline to run a welfare scheme for friends and family of employees....Forget the Sahara Parivar - its amateur compared to the AI/IC Parivar....
 
Vimanav
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 4:08 am

On a loss-per-unit-revenue basis, Sahara lost more money in FY0102 than even bankrupt carriers like United did!

Maybe that's why they hired Rono Dutta as their Director North America!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

rgds//Vimanav
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 5:14 am

I wonder which aircraft they will choose

A330/340
7E7
777


Generally, I see a chance of less than 1 % that this will happen any soon ( I see a merger of AI and IC in the next 5-7 years more likely than IC going beyond Asia), so the question - which also I put at the first message of the thread - is only theoretical. Probably, the 330 would be a good aircraft for IC (all airbus fleet and smaller than the 340)

But as said, I am a daydreamer sometimes..  Smile

No, to echo what has been said...: no one should expect this to happen soon. Let them first get thir 319-321, then we talk again!  Smile
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
TKMCE
Posts: 819
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 1:11 pm

Jr said
***
My experiences with IC over the years have been mixed, but I do see them as having a lot of potential to do good things for the market they serve, and hopefully they will...
****

This is more or less what I am trying to say . It is an undeniable fact that they are now promoting their product agressively. Please note that I am speaking of Indian Airlines here and not Air India as the latter has still someway to go to even catch up with IC.

Some points to substantiate

1 IC had internet booking long before Jet or Sahara introduced the same.
2 Their frequent flyer programme due to its tie up with Air India and Air France is equally if not more attractive than Jet (not every frequent domestic traveller has the wherewithal or time to spend holidays in Europe or USA).
3 They react aggressively to the market changes - literally every marketing plan of Jet or Sahara (super sixes et all) , is offered by IC as well. In some cases they have led the way like the one of flight specific fares.

Despite bureaucracy asnd politicians delaying their fleet acquisition plans (the creaky 737s are not being operated by the Alliance Air management out of choice), they still have maintained high despatch reliability on their A 320s (most of their 30 owned A320s) are now ten years or older.

Somebody mentioned that ICs routes to SIN and Middle East give them an advantage. The reality is otherwise . The competition is cut throat and the only protected maket they have now is CCJ where they had only AI to deal with it. Even this is to change with Srilankan announcing 4 weekly to CMB.

Take two examples

a COk SHJ- Indian Airlines flights on the route are up against Emirates/Air India both of whom fly to DXB non stop not to speak of Kuwait/Oman/Sri Lankan/Qatar.... who all have convenient connections and undercut fares

b MAA SIN - Daily flights by IC and up against daily frequencies by both SQ and AI offering non stops not to speak of fierce undercutting by Malaysian and new entrant Thai.

So where is the golden apple there?. They are surviving just like any one else by aggressively reacting to competitoon. No better example than the recent move to reduce fares consdierably on the Bombay Gujarat routes in an attempt to matrch Air Deccan who have just started operations. While Jet is still "contemplating" IC has already reacted.

I have never said IC is better than Jet in all counts but merely pointing out that for a governmentt organisation still shackled by numerous facotrs the management has little control over, they have improved dramatically over the past ten years after "protectionism" disappeared after the repal of the air corporation act a decade back. As I said before I am in no way not connected to IC, but only interested in not joining the fashionable "govenment bashing" brigade and instead trying to give some credit to an organisation who I feel has earned it with their recent praiseworthy efforts.

Cheers


 
mrniji
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Sat May 08, 2004 8:08 pm

Please note that I am speaking of Indian Airlines here and not Air India as the latter has still someway to go to even catch up with IC.

PErsonally, I see it other way round, but whatsoever, a matter of taste.

Another thing I wanted to point out... The IC livery!  Acting devilish

I know that IC is somehow proud on its logo, but I find it too boring to describe it in words.

Is there any chance that IC, once the new planes come, will get a new livery and maybe enhance their identity?? This amateur-made IC on the tail really looks unprofessional, and a change would show that IC is trying to catch up...  Smile
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
IndianGuy
Posts: 3126
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RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Mon May 10, 2004 10:10 pm


PErsonally, I see it other way round, but whatsoever, a matter of taste.

Another thing I wanted to point out... The IC livery!

According to an article on advertising published in the Today magazine last year, The IC logo (which u call the “amateur made tail”) is ranked among the top 10 most widely recognized brands in the country, even higher than the Maharaja, which is these days seen in every third rate hotel and so is not necessarily assoc with AI.


PErsonally, I see it other way round, but whatsoever, a matter of taste.

IC is undoubtedly better position than AI. Where would AI be without the direct and indirect subsidies? Among the subsidies is the income coming in through the lease of bilaterals. I have for long argued that these bilaterals belong to the Indian govt, and any income earned through their lease must go to the Consolidated Fund of India and thence to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. NOT TO Air India. Air India performs no “national service” either unlike IC. When Kargil broke out, it was IC’s A320’s, which were ferrying our soldiers to and back from the war front. IC also operates to far flung areas from Tezpur(TEZ) in the East to Jamnagar(JGA) on the West, and from Leh(IXL) in the North to Car Nicobar (CBD) in the South thus linking every remote corner in the country to India’s metros and quite efficiently at that. IC does not receive any subsidies for day to day operations. It has been bailed out previously yes, but things have certainly improved today.

Admittedly, I am not a frequent flyer. 5 or max 6 round trips a year all domestic. But even when compared to the pvt airlines, I for one have always preferred IC. IC’s biggest asset is that it has a network that few others can even begin to match. 9W operates to barely 40 destinations, S2 to around a dozen, while IC operates over 61 destinations in the country alone. Name a mid-sized city, and IC possibly operates there. Now that the ATR fleet (currently 4, could grow upto 12) is coming online, I think even more smaller stations would be coming into the network, from Allahabad to Diu to Kolhapur. True, they don’t have sex-bombs walking down the aisles, but the service is homely and much better than average. So as long as the food isn’t stale (I have seen that on ALL 3 carriers) I am fine!!

I don’t care for IFE either. But the one thing that IC should do is to provide power points for laptops and Personal DVD players or whatever even in Y class on their A320 fleet. Atleast I can get my work done!

The 732’s operated by Alliance ARE a huge embarrassment, but I hear they are to be replaced by leased A319’s before the Winter schedule. 7 of them coming in this year.

-Roy
 
mrniji
Posts: 5382
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:51 am

RE: Indian Airlines Goes Intercontinental?

Tue May 11, 2004 12:20 am

Thanks Roy, in most what you say I agree.

Air India performs no “national service” either unlike IC.

Roy, yes, IC is performing a great national task, which private careers would never do, because it is unprofitable. But also AI in some means. AI ferried out Indian citizens of the Gulf countries at the time of the gulf war (I think the biggest airlift in human history or so), flies Indian Muslims to Haj annually. There were some occations AI took this "national service", too. Then AI connected "remote areas" like Gauwathi with BKK (I don't want to say it to be a remote area, but it did not have any international connection thus far), although the sector is unprofitable.

What you say about the logo is funny. I personally don't find any sense of creativity in it, but you are right, it is an easy symbole to recognize IC. I personally think AI should market the maharajah much better (on the tail of teh a/c??)... the ad's etc. are great

As I said before, and I agree with you in this, I prefer IC because the network is really great. But they also receive "direct and indirect subsidies", as you say, not anly AI...

cheers

By the way, in 2000 I took one of the CD 732s. They were not too bad (I think just refurbished), rather comfortable. But you are right, we all wait for the 319!  Smile
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)

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