At a recent press event, Air India’s CEO Campbell Wilson discussed the progress of the airline’s transformation, some of the challenges along the way as well as the scope of growth for the airline in the country and also for the employees within the company. According to Wilson, for anyone thinking of a career in aviation in India, there’s no better place than Air India currently.
Perfect for a career in aviation
Air India will need a skilled workforce across all divisions to fuel its ambitious growth. And while recruiting the right talent at a pace that keeps up with the airline’s projected growth could be challenging for now, it also means that anyone entering Air India’s workforce right now will have ample opportunities for career progression.
The carrier’s Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Wilson, said that Air India has embarked on a mission that hasn’t been done in the country’s aviation industry before. He highlighted how there hasn’t been a national champion airline in India to build talent for the enormous growth planned for Air India.
The airline will receive 470 brand-new aircraft over the next several years, and 70 of those will be widebodies, something India has never seen before. Naturally, Air India will require pilots, cabin crew, and engineers to run daily operations, and the airline will encourage skill development in the country to meet employee demand. Wilson added,
“We will be investing in very significant training academy to grow pilots locally. India has been a exporter of talent, including in aviation, for many, many years, and I think now for the first time there is an airline that any aviation professional can join in India with a significant career opportunity. In fact there’s probably no better place in the world to pursue an aviation career than Air India right now, given the scale and ambition of our growth.”
Significant cabin changes to reflect by next year
Among the other things discussed was the refurbishment of the cabins of existing aircraft. Wilson said that work is underway to utilize the $400 million investment the airline made last year to completely change the cabins of its widebody planes. Passengers can expect to see aircraft with refurbished cabins start to be deployed in the middle of the next year.
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But Wilson added that Air India is already offering a better product on some of its widebody planes recently acquired for long-haul operations. But by 2024, passengers will notice a significant change in the cabins when taking into account the leased aircraft coming in, the first deliveries from the order of new aircraft, and the aircraft that will be refurbished.
The scope is huge
But in a country like India, where so many low-cost carriers fight for space and keep fares extremely competitive, how does Air India’s massive growth plan fit in? Wilson said,
“You might think that 470 aircraft is a lot but when we look at the scale and potential and opportunity of Inida, I think you can put it into context. India presently has less than 50 widebody in total. There many countries around the world, much smaller in size and in population that have multiples of that. So the opportunity is there when you look at population, demography, diaspora, geography, and supply chain reconfiguration around the world, there are every reason to expect that India will rise up the ranks, not just of the economic rankings but of the aviation rankings.”
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Indeed, if the last two years are anything to go by, India is definitely headed for aviation growth, unlike anything seen in the past. And Air India is hoping to be at the forefront of that change.
What do you think about Air India’s growth plans? Please leave a comment below.
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