Air India is investing $200 million in pilot training facilities as it expand its fleet and network.
Air India in February placed a mega order for 470 planes and is leasing planes to add new destinations. To support its growth the airline is also investing in training facilities for pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff. It will also collaborate with plane makers Airbus and Boeing for training its personnel.
“On the simulator side the investment is of $ 200 million to build capabilities not just for Air India but for others,” the airline’s Managing Director and CEO Campbell Wilson told businessline in an interview.
Air India is leasing 11 wide body planes of which six have already been inducted and five will be inducted by March 2024. Along with this, the airline has also leased 25 A320 NEO planes. Of this, four have already been inducted and 21 will come in by March 24. Of the fresh order, six A350 planes are likely to be inducted by the end of this fiscal.
“The widebodies will be used to expand our network internationally as well as add frequencies on the international segment. The A350 will operate domestically during the first quarter of next year and then operate on international routes,’” Wilson said.
Regarding Vistara’s merger with Air India, Wilson said CCI has given its nod and the airline is awaiting clearance from international competition regulators. The National Company Law Tribunal approval process is underway. The two airlines will continue to operate on separate air operating certificates for the time being. The Vistara brand will phase out when Air India product measures up to Vistara or higher standards.
“At the moment, there is no timeline to bring Air India and Vistara together from a operating and customer perspective. We have some work to do to bring Air India up to the necessary standards. A lot of that (standard) will come as we bring new aircraft into Air India,” he said.