All hands on deck: How Tata companies help revamp Air India

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NEW DELHI: Tata Sons has put its might behind resurrecting Air India (AI), which it had acquired earlier this year. Different group companies are using their core competence to revive the Maharaja in what is seen as the most challenging airline turnarounds in contemporary times. Taj Hotels’ flight catering arm TajSATS, for instance, has from Day One of AI’s homecoming this January been delivering improved onboard meals.
AI MD & CEO Campbell Wilson has now detailed the role being played by other Tata companies in the turnaround process of AI. “TajSATS is assisting very much in catering here. For crew accommodation, (there is) Indian Hotels Company (Taj). Tata Technologies has been helping design some of the obsolete or out-of-stock aircraft seat components or other components in aircraft (by) doing 3D design and manufacturing from scratch so that we can accelerate repair of seats,” Wilson (52), an aviation veteran from Tatas‘ long-trusted airline partner Singapore Airlines (SIA), said.
Broken, torn or not fully functional business seats are the bane of AI’s passengers, especially on the wide bodies used for medium to ultra-long hauls. And it is not easy to find spares, which makes 3D manufacturing of the same critical. “We have found it difficult in some cases to get some components because the seat product is quite old and in some cases no longer in production. Then you throw in the supply chain constraints that every industry is facing… The design of many of these components is not as robust as today’s seats. So we can fix a seat today and, in a month’s time, same problem may recur. That we are building a supply of spares to keep repairing things that continue to break,” Wilson said.
Tata Group flagship TCS is a “significant contributor” to the IT rebuild of AI’s backbone. A team from Tata Business Excellence, comprising representatives from most group companies that do business analysis to lift the performance of each company, has been at AI “helping us identify where opportunities for improvement and efficiency are”.
Air India is getting expertise of each group company depending on the strength of the latter.



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