Alliance Air gets its own website, looks to appoint a CCO

Alliance Air – the only government owned airline after the sale of Air India, now has its own website! The website has been live for over 10 days now. For years the URL redirected to the Air India website. Over the last several months, there were tenders for various services – including new IT systems, all of which indicated that Air India sale was on the right track and that efforts and investments were on to have Alliance Air as a separate entity. 

Surprisingly, the website wasn’t launched at the time of transfer of Air India to the TATA’s and Alliance Air continued on the Air India platform. Even now when the website has been exposed to everyone, the first thing you see is the banner which says this website is not for booking and passengers should visit for bookings. 

The airline is expanding, having signed a deal to lease two ATR42-600 aircraft which are expected by mid-2022.

How was Alliance Air being managed on the Air India website?

Alliance Air has a separate AOP (Air Operating Permit) and thus a separate IATA (9I), ICAO (LLR) codes and call sign (Allied). While being sold on Air India website, it was being sold as AI coded flights. The arrangement is similar to what existed between JetLite (former Air Sahara) and Jet Airways, where all the flights were sold as Jet Airways flights with a “9W” flight number but few operated as “S2”. 

The operating carrier is Alliance Air, while the marketing carrier is Air India. The arrangement is similar to a codeshare where a small percentage of seats are handed over to partner airlines to sell. In this case, the entire inventory is sold by the marketing carrier. 

Interestingly, while Air India is now with the TATA’s, Alliance Air continues to be sold on the Air India website. Any deals between the two with commercial’s involved, isn’t in public domain yet. But with a website in place and section after section being updated, the ticket sale would soon shift to Alliance Air’s own website.

What changes now?

The government has made it clear time and again that it has no intention of continuing with Alliance Air as well. Over a period of time, the airline along with other parts of erstwhile Air India – which were not sold, like the engineering and ground handling units, will also be up for sale. 

The airline had clocked an operating profit for the first time last year. The network is already decoupled with flights being sold in isolation and not as a combination of Air India + Alliance Air.

To deck up for the sale, not only the balance sheet but also the operational metrics need a clean up. The airline is spread thin with many one flight a day stations and some even lesser than those with bases all across the country.

Recruiting a CCO

The airline is looking to have a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) on board. With an experience of 25 years in the commercial department in airlines of repute, with the last 5 years being in top management. The airline wants the incumbent to have good knowledge of Passenger Sales & Marketing, Revenue Management, Passenger Service systems, Network planning, Cargo, Catering and Ancillary Revenues of airlines. 

The airline is also looking to add additional manpower in its finance team.

Network Thoughts

While a lot of routes for the airline are part of RCS-UDAN, it has meant that its cost per station is high. A lot of stations where it operates are single flight stations which has implications on the cost.

The Summer schedule which begins on the last Sunday of March will be a golden opportunity for the airline to decouple completely from Air India and ensure that its operations are streamlined, setting it up for a possible sale in the next couple of quarters.

Who will be interested in Alliance Air? Will it be market leader IndiGo – which already has ATR72-600s in its fleet? Will it be the TATA group which sees additional demand post Air India acquisition or will it be another group which may want to consolidate the regional operators like flybig, TruJet and Alliance Air? This website will do an analysis of Alliance Air network and possible scenarios in the next couple of weeks.

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