Air India’s Problems Persist in 2016

Air India and Its Issues

Air India and Its Issues

Nowadays, when you come across news headlines that start with “Close shave for Air India passengers…”, you start guessing what could be the next ‘technical issue’ that has gripped the airlines. It was only last night (Tuesday) that another Air India aircraft made the already woeful state of affairs look more alarming.

Of course, we Indians are a tolerant race and we hardly raise our eyebrows at ‘minor’ but frequent ‘technical glitches’, but something as menacing as tyre burst is ought to be taken with a pinch of salt, that too, when there are more than 150 passengers on board.

By now, you all must have come across the news of flight AI630 that landed at Mumbai airport from Nagpur on the night of 15 March. Although sources from the airport claimed that some passengers suffered injuries when they were being evacuated through the emergency chute, the AI officials refuted the claim stating that no injury to any passenger was reported.

New Problems for Air India in 2016

It seems the problems for Air India came just too soon in 2016. Even before the passengers of AI could forget the two incidents in December 2015 – member of its ground crew died after being sucked into an aircraft engine and another flight was forced to make emergency landing after the cockpit windscreen cracked – January brought a new set of problems.

In January, two Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights were grounded because of technical problems. A London-bound flight from Mumbai was forced to divert to Delhi because there were “some issues with the crew’s duty timing”. In the same month, a Delhi-bound flight from Chennai remained stranded for a few hours because of yet another technical problem.

If you catalogue all the problems that affected smooth flight operations for Air India in January, spotting a rat inside the cabin of a Dreamliner jet en route to London from Mumbai was the worst. As we approached February, we heard the news of a London-bound Air India flight making an emergency landing at Frankfurt Airport due to technical reasons.

The state-owned carrier, which has been reeling under financial loss since 2007, had acquired 27 Dreamliner jets in 2012. Out of these, 21 are currently in operation. Air India has faced a series of issues with the fleet. In fact, a recent report revealed that an investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has unearthed “a serious design flaw in the flight deck seats on Boeing 787 Dreamliners”.

Common Complaints against Air India

According to a poll conducted in 2015, the most frequently received complaint has been related to flight cancellations and delays. A significant chunk of problems expressed by the passengers is dedicated to dissatisfaction over customer services. Although there hasn’t been many complaints about staff behaviour, yet the discontentment over lost baggage was evident.

It sounds good when the government announces that the Air India is likely to post an operating profit of Rs. 8 crore in the current fiscal, but then the optimism gets muffled by yet another terrible news of
an Air India Express flight from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode being delayed by 21 hours for “unknown reasons” and the passengers sleeping on floor of the airport because their request for accommodation was turned down.