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June 7, 2002 | 1252 IST
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Air-India plans to take off with call centres

BS Corporate Bureau

Air-India is the latest to hop on to the call centre bandwagon. The airline, which recently bounced back into the black, has decided to set up call centres to facilitate its in-house operations pertaining to reservations, seat inventory management and other services.

The national carrier, which was at one point on top of the Centre's divestment agenda, is now busy chalking out investment plans.

Air-India proposes to set up call centres in two phases. In the first phase, the airline will outsource services for which it has already invited tenders for setting up centres in Greater Mumbai, New Mumbai and Thane in Maharashtra.

In the second phase, the airline is planning to have its own call centres. The tenders have been invited for the first phase, the second phase or both.

Senior airline officials said, "Depending on the success of the first phase and the economic viability of having an independent call centre, we will take a final decision on which model to follow."

Air-India at present has reservations offices in various cities in India and abroad. All its reservations offices are connected by terminals to its real time online computerised reservations system (ARTICA), in Mumbai.

Air-India's staff worldwide provide information regarding reservations, hotel and car bookings, pre-flight checks and post-flight analysis, tele check-in passengers, several schemes offered besides general information on visa, health requirements of all countries.

These staff perform the functions at each of their offices, independently in India and abroad.

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