1. Air India salad cut: Loss-making Indian airline inspired by story of American Airlines that saved $40,000 by cutting one olive from every meal?

Air India salad cut: Loss-making Indian airline inspired by story of American Airlines that saved $40,000 by cutting one olive from every meal?

As the debt-ridden Air India is trying to reduce costs in the littlest of ways possible, like cutting down on salad, it reminds us of a few other instances where airlines have used interesting methods to curb expenditure.

By: | Updated: June 13, 2017 3:28 PM
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Air India’s future appears to be weak, as the government seems to be looking at disinvestment due to criticism against committing more taxpayers’ money into the carrier. Meanwhile, the staff of the beleaguered airline has suggested that salads from meals for economy class passengers on international flights be removed. A senior airline official wrote to the Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani with staff feedback, including a cabin crew in charge, on how salads often go a waste on international flights. The official informed that only a fifth of the passengers actually consumes the salads. The national carrier has a debt of around Rs 55,000 crore which it has been unsuccessfully trying to restructure. Voices from the government in the recent weeks indicate that a decision on Air India is imminent. Even as the government mulls privatising Air India, policy think-tank Niti Aayog terms the process “very, very difficult”. As the debt-ridden Air India is trying to reduce costs in the littlest of ways possible, like cutting down on salad, it reminds us of a few other instances where airlines have used interesting methods to curb expenditure. One of the examples is an airline which removed one olive from its in-flight dinner plate and saved great amounts of money.

Sometime in the 1980s American Airlines claimed that while many passengers would eat the dinner salads, a majority of them would ignore the customary olive on the plate. This prompted Robert Crandall, who was the airline head during that time, to remove the olive. This move by Americal Airlines helped it to save on the number of ingredients in the salad, and in turn reportedly saved over $40,000 per year. There are several other examples of simple cost-cutting measures, which have helped airlines to save a lot of money. In the year 1994, Southwest Airlines, following a suggestion from its crew, got rid of the company logo from its rubbish bags. This move reportedly helped the carrier save $ 300,000 annually in printing expenditure. The Airline industry serves a varied range of customers and operates on low margins, so how else do these modern carriers reduce costs without cutting corners?

Also read | Cut down on salads to save costs: Air India staff

Airlines often choose flight attendants who watch their weight down to decimal places. Companies have got rid of heavy in-flight magazines, use thin carpets and serve food in light-weight boxes. There are examples of airlines which have removed safety equipment for emergency water landings on those flight which do not fly above the water. Many companies have also made the seats lighter. Air Mediterranee, a French airline, replaced 220 economy seats in its Airbus A321 planes. The seats which earlier weighed 12kgs were replaced by thinner ones created using lighter materials like titanium now weigh about 4kg.

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In the year 2013, India’s low-cost carrier GoAir had decided to recruit only air hostesses instead of the ‘heavier’ male flight pursers. Such penny-pinching pays off. Meanwhile, fuel reportedly accounts for one-third of a carrier’s costs and every kilogram thus shed removes a lot of money from the aircraft’s yearly fuel bill. So as technology moves ahead, even meagre design tweaks on modern aircraft also help. Some airlines, like the Southwest airline, use certain winglets to reduce air drag which eventually saves a huge amount of fuel. But till the time company’s like Air India can enable solid measures to actually take off, it will continue to weed out the extra olive, or in this case the whole salad.

  1. K
    KSRao
    Jun 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm
    Did Air India serve ds any time> Not in my experience. Anyway, have travelled by it a long time ago.
    Reply
    1. O
      Od sharma
      Jun 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
      Air India should have been closed many years ago.All are slacker. d as such should not be serve.It become stale by the time goes to mouth. Unhealthy food.non of the air hostess even bother to close or help passenger to close the Over Head Bins.
      Reply
      1. C
        Crazy critique
        Jun 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm
        d to be removed?!! AI should reduce some unhealthy bulls t like aerated drinks or alcohol from other classes... stead supply healthy stuff in disposable lightweight containers...
        Reply
        1. C
          Crazy critique
          Jun 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm
          d to be removed?!! AI should reduce some unhealthy bull like aerated drinks or alcohol from other classes. Instead supply healthy stuff in disposable lightweight containers Or find some smart way to cut costs.
          Reply
        2. Nipun Sheth
          Jun 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm
          Ha Ha Ha... Penny wise Pound Foolish... Improve on the quality of Service.. Passengers are not flying Air India to eat ds... A Question to ask Air India MD... Have you ever tried Roti Parotha served in the meal on board? I bet if you can eat such quality at your home... Serve the food which you like to eat yourself... No need to cut ds, People will pay extra for delicious food. and offcourse focus on cutting the cost by way of being more compe ive so that flights are fully loaded and cost of each trip is recovered well. Kick out those liability type officers and staff who does nothing but create hurdles in deserving people climbing ladders
          Reply
          1. Sridhar Cva
            Jun 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm
            Well better curb the free political cl tickets and stop issuing free tickets to relatives or officers and politicians, then automatically the airlines will make profit. In India, if something is in utter loss, main people eating it from inside are officers and politicians
            Reply
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