Air India to Invest $200 Million in Pilot and Crew Training Amid Fleet Expansion

In a move aimed at enhancing its pilot and crew capabilities, Air India is set to make a substantial investment of $200 million in its training facilities. This strategic decision comes as the airline expands its fleet and extends its network, with an order for 470 aircraft valued at approximately $70 billion placed with Airbus and Boeing back in February.

In addition to bolstering its pilot training initiatives, Air India’s investment will also encompass the development of training facilities for cabin crew, engineers, and ground staff. The airline is poised to collaborate with leading plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to achieve these objectives.

Air India’s Managing Director and CEO, Campbell Wilson, shared insights into the significant investment, stating, “On the simulator side, the investment is of $200 million to build capabilities not just for Air India but for others.”

As part of its expansion plans, Air India has opted to lease 11 wide-body aircraft, with six already integrated into its fleet and five more slated for inclusion by March 2024. Furthermore, the airline has entered into leases for 25 A320 NEO aircraft, with four already in operation and the remaining 21 scheduled for incorporation by March 2024.

Wilson elaborated on the use of these wide-body aircraft, explaining, “The wide-bodies 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.”

Regarding the merger between Air India and Vistara, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has granted approval, and international competition regulators’ clearance is currently pending. Air India’s transition plan includes gradually phasing out the Vistara brand once Air India’s services attain a level that matches or surpasses Vistara’s offerings.

Air India’s recent unveiling of a new brand identity on August 10 reflects the airline’s transformation under the Tata Group’s ownership. The updated logo draws inspiration from Air India’s iconic window shape, reimagining it as a gold window frame. Symbolizing limitless possibilities, progressiveness, and a confident outlook for the future, the new emblem, known as ‘The Vista,’ underscores the airline’s commitment to its ongoing evolution.

In regulatory matters, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has conditionally reinstated Air India’s approved training organization (ATO) for a 30-day period. Earlier, DGCA suspended Air India’s Airbus and Boeing Simulator facilities in Hyderabad and Mumbai, respectively, citing identified lapses during a spot check. Consequently, no Air India pilot could undergo license renewal or flight refresher courses due to the suspension of all the airline’s simulator facilities in the country. Additionally, DGCA took action against Air India’s Chief of Flight Safety by imposing a one-month suspension. These actions follow regulatory findings of irregularities in the airline’s internal audits in July.

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