New Delhi: The merged Air India – Indian Airlines will have to book passengers using two codes for at least another half year, as the merged airline's holding company NACIL (National Aviation Company of India) has come to realise that the passenger booking systems of the two airlines are not capable of being merged.
NACIL chairman and managing director Raghu Menon says that the combined airline will now switch over to a ''brand new, state-of-the-art passenger reservation system'' that will allow flight operations to use the common code, AI, to book flights from next April. Menon said that the vendor had been selected and work has started on the project.
One of the reasons why a quick transition was possible in the case of the Kingfisher-Deccan alliance was that Deccan was not on global distribution system, which facilitated their migration to the common IT code. With both IA and AI on the GDS, the two will have to fly out the financial year on separate passenger management systems.
Doubts that the merger has been only in name have persisted, in the face of implementation issues such as the common code, and human resource issues. Menon, however, tried to address apprehensions about the merger process, saying that HR issues had been sorted out for the most part, and synergy benefits were more than expected.
He said that fears on HR integration have been belied, and synergy benefits out of merger have been impressive. In the first year of merger from last to this August, a benefit of Rs150 crore was expected, but the actual synergy benefit has been Rs600 crore.
For the period between August 2008 – 09, benefits expected from the synergies are around Rs1,200 to Rs1,300 crore, says Menon. He says that the big savings have been larger discounts because of the combined volume of purchases for the combined airline, such as the volume discount on fuel purchase of around Rs250 crore. Other discounts have been on insurance premium, network synergy and other procurements.