Air India set to fly with 'Maharaja' class seats on international flights
New Delhi: Passengers on most of Air India's international flights are all set for a new experience as the airline will soon introduce 'Maharaja' business class seats, variety cuisines and new uniforms for crew, officials said.
The revamped products and services is likely to be unveiled on June 22, which would also come on an eventful week when the government decided to put the breaks, for now, on the disinvestment plans for the loss-making carrier.
"The airline would launch a revamped Maharaja business class," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters here.
The existing first class and business class seats on its Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft fleet would be revamped for the Maharaja business class seats. These planes operate short and long haul international routes.
Airline officials said the latest makeover exercise would involve overhauling of a section of the first class and business class with an upgraded ambience, upholstery and other new features. The night kits would also come with a new look, they added.
Besides, variety cuisines and new uniforms for crew would be introduced, they said. "The objective of the revamping exercise is to bring about the much needed change in the airline, make it more customer-focussed with enviable service," one of the officials said.
Another official said the move is part of larger efforts to attract more passengers on its international flights and in turn generate more revenues as well as gain more market share.
Currently, Air India has 17 per cent market share on international routes. It has over 2,500 international prime-time slots per week spread across 43 overseas destinations.
According to the officials, the cabin crew of Boeing aircraft flying on the overseas routes would be sporting new uniform with a subtle western touch.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and his deputy Jayant Sinha are expected to unveil the new products.
An empowered group of ministers reviewed the situation related to Air India on Monday.
"The aviation sector globally is facing lot of headwinds. The fuel costs, uncertainty over exchange rates have also caused lot of challenges to the aviation sector," Prabhu said.
At the end of March 2017, the carrier had a debt burden of around Rs 48,877 crore. Out of the total amount, Rs 17,360 crore was related to aircraft and Rs 31,517 crore pertained to working capital loans.