The business world has seen many twists and turns, but none as fateful as the coronavirus pandemic. Much is said about COVID and how it has changed the landscape for many businesses, right from start-ups to corporate giants. Revenues have taken a hit and business plans have had to undergo immediate re-evaluation to account for the impact of the pandemic. Initially, we thought the situation would last for few months but with time we soon realized that the recovery was unpredictable.
In the aviation industry, since the advent of COVID-19, the changes that were noticed started with passengers cancelling their travel plans due to the steady rise in cases until the subsequent suspension of passenger flights due to the closure of borders. On an operational level, the staff of the Mumbai airport experienced how difficult it was to keep the airport functioning during the lockdown. The airport teams faced numerous challenges, both in an official capacity as well as on a personal level, as the unprecedented situation evolved further.
This has always been the crux of the approach in making Mumbai airport a premier hub for air travel. The proof of this particular pudding can be in the transformation of the airport, the majestic terminal that embodies ‘Indianness’, the unique value-added services like an end-to-end assistance service like Pranaam, a unique safari through the first-ever airport museum in India amongst so many others. According to Dr. Randhir Lamba, Assistant Vice President – Corporate Relations, the vision of making CSMIA one of the best airports in the world has been made possible to achieve because of all the joint efforts of all the airport stakeholders.
There is an acronym ‘VUCA’ that is derived from the leadership theories which in short indicates Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity of general conditions and situations around us. According to Satyender Tanwar, Assistant Vice President – Human Resources, the current global pandemic blew this analysis model wide open with overwhelming insights on each aspect that had to be taken into account. From an HR perspective, these distinct scenarios can be best addressed by being proactive, agile and appropriately aligning people policies. The pandemic situation also proved how priorities can change overnight, as our focus shifted from worldly desires to just the well-being of self and loved ones
While the world over has already been moving towards an increasing use of technology for various functions, this pandemic has brought about the radical shift in the workings of an organization. Digital transformation became the mantra as remote working was encouraged across the board for the safety of employees. Jaideep Verma, Assistant Vice President and Head – IT, likens the experience to being a kid in a candy shop. The IT team was excited to explore numerous digital initiatives to ease the organization into the new way of working while continuing to remain operational even during a nationwide lockdown and also in anticipation of passenger preferences upon the resumption of operations.
While COVID-19 could not put a stop on airport operations, it is undeniable that its impact has led to a slowdown in the movements observed globally. Being the financial hub of the country, Mumbai is the primary destination for non-scheduled or private flight operations. CSMIA was the first airport in the country to launch a dedicated terminal in 2011 to ease the journey of passengers opting for these flights. Prior to the onset of COVID, the General Aviation terminal at CSMIA witnessed on average around 20-25 aircraft movements (ATMs) in a day. These consisted majorly VIPs movements mainly for privacy, superior schedule efficiency or simply for the sheer joy of indulging in luxury.
The Project Operations team is committed to the completion of all projects within a stipulated timeframe with primary concentration on safety & quality. Ably headed by Subodh Kumar, Vice President – Project Operations, the team is also responsible for maintaining the airside infrastructure encompassing the runway, taxiways and APRON. According to Subodh, his team ensures quick maintenance and repair work at any given time of the day to minimize the impact on aircraft movements in case of an issue at any of these areas and work towards delivering 98% serviceability of the runway at all times. Thus, it was imperative for Subodh and his team to remain active even after the suspension of commercial flight operations, despite lockdown conditions, as the airport remained functional to facilitate repatriation, cargo and charter operations.
To the layman, airport security is all about the security personnel they see posted around the airport. While this is certainly a primary aspect maintained by one of the airport stakeholders, the CISF, Zon K Edamuttath, Assistant Vice President & Head – Security, and his team oversees multiple functions both as part of the airport operator including playing the role of coordinator between other stakeholders involved in security at the airport.
MIAL stays vigilant on its carbon footprint even during a crisis
At a time when industries have been ravaged due to the pandemic situation, one would expect that companies would be focused only on salvaging the business and pause other initiatives. At MIAL, maintaining business continuity while staying true to the promise of taking care of the environment is the way forward. Sounds impossible? Not for the quick thinking and innovative teams at MIAL, who adopted a two-pronged strategy to achieve this goal – reducing its carbon footprint and contributing towards a greener environment.