The national carrier had its first nine domestic flights — out of a total 12 — leave on or before their scheduled time from Terminal 2 of the International Airport; however, one flight was delayed by 15 minutes because its aerobridge did not dock properly
Flight delays will hopefully be a thing of the past for Air India and its passengers after the airline moved its domestic operations from the domestic airport’s 1A Terminal to Terminal 2 (T2) of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport yesterday.
Ashwani Lohani, Air India CMD (in blue), inaugurates the airline’s domestic operations from Terminal 2 of the International Airport. Pics/Nimesh Dave
The national carrier had a productive and punctual first day while starting its domestic operations from T2, with its first nine domestic flights — out of a total of 12 — leave on or before their scheduled time yesterday.
While most of the flights ran on or before their scheduled time, a family flying by Air India had to miss their flight due to the confusion regarding the shift in operations to international terminal
The first AI flight to depart from T2 was the Nagpur-bound AI 627 that departed seven minutes before schedule. Similarly, AI 806, a Delhi-bound flight was seven minutes before time as well. Later, a Bangalore-bound flight, AI 603, departed four minutes prior to its schedule, followed by AI 570, a Chennai-bound flight that departed three minutes before schedule.
Among the many reasons that led to this feat, the credit for AI’s improved performance can be attributed to the connectivity of aerobridges that were directly linked to the aircraft. This proved to be a crucial factor.
Ashwani Lohani, AI’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) has also assured that flights from Mumbai will now be able to improve their struggling On Time Performance (OTP). He said that the flights are not only focused on improving their OTP, but also their level of passenger convenience.
Lohani added that improving the airline’s response to passenger issues and complaints is on his priority list. With this move, AI has become the second airline carrier after Vistara to move its domestic operations to T2.
The airline is also paying approximately 15% more to operate from T2 rather than Terminal 1A, according to senior airline officials. Also present at the inauguration was Mark Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance network, of which AI is a member.
He said, “At present, we have 11 airline carriers connecting Mumbai with 20 international destinations in 14 countries. Our customers can now enjoy a simpler, smoother and faster transfer experience, when they connect to and from any of Air India’s 30 domestic destinations that operate from Mumbai.”
While a majority of the flights departed before or on time, three flights faced minor delays. AI 617, a Kolkata-bound flight via Hyderabad, departed nine minutes after its scheduled time. The flight was delayed because its crew reported late.
AI 615, a Hyderabad-bound flight was delayed by 15 minutes due to the airport operator, because its aerobridge didn’t dock properly, due to which the gate had to be changed. The Bhopal-bound AI 633 departed four minutes after its schedule, since it had to taxi back because it did not have the ATC’s permission.
Though the overall response of the passengers remained positive for the airline, a lack of signage outside T2 was observed. According to sources, a family flying by Air India had to miss their flight due to the confusion regarding the shift of operations to the international terminal.
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Photos: Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen with daughters at Mumbai airport