A couple of months into joining the Wadia Group-promoted airline, Vrieswijk told FE that GoAir is committed to return to profits even during the tough times and that the airline will largely be a single-fleet airline.
Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO, GoAir, brings with him extensive international experience of turning around airline businesses, driving costs and scaling revenues up, something airlines in India are in dire need of. A couple of months into joining the Wadia Group-promoted airline, Vrieswijk told FE’s Manisha Singhal that GoAir is committed to return to profits even during the tough times and that the airline will largely be a single-fleet airline. Excerpts:
What is your mandate at GoAir?
My mandate is to drive costs at the company because only by lowering costs you can make a margin. If you look at all airlines like Ryanair or easyJet they make profit in good times and bad times. In bad times, they make less profit and in good times, they make more profit so our mission is to drive costs out of the organisation and we will look at everything that achieves that. This does not to mean that we will do brutal cost-cutting or fire people but it means growth of the fleet that will give us economies of scale, will introduce high-tech solutions in many areas,network planning, optimisers for group manpower planning, optimum roster planning.
In terms of fuel, we are focusing on fuel conservation and not essentially hedging.
How can you keep costs low in this challenging environment where fuel costs are unmanageable, airlines are losing money and rupee is depreciating?
We will control costs and that is the advantage of being a low-cost carrier that we can keep costs low. We are largely going to be a single aircraft type fleet and today we have an imbalance upwards the A320neos which is going to drive the costs down and our neo fleet will grow significantly over the next few months.
We are also looking at whether we should be keeping the A320ceos on board or return the leases as they are 20% more expensive than the A320neo.
We are looking at sub-leasing options for the A320ceo fleet as well. The engine issues with the A320neos of Pratt and Whitney will get resolved largely by next year-end.
As you go international, will you look at widebody aircraft type for long haul, low-cost flying?
I am meeting Airbus today and we are looking at adding larger planes but we are also studying as to how to put them with our existing business model. The next question so will you add it up in your existing fleet or will you set up an independent company? Those are all the options we are looking at. We are looking at a model like AirAsia Group where we can have a long haul operations and larger aircaft like the A350neos without diluting our low-cost model. Largely long haul low-cost models have not succeeded and we are exploring options.