In a bid to expand the flying capacity ahead of the holiday season, the Tata Group has decided to induct several planes by 2023 for its two airlines, Air India and Air India Express. The company is planning to get six Boeing 777-2000 aircraft and 25 Airbus A320 Neo aircraft on lease by the first quarter of 2023, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
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Tata Group is in the final stages of placing an order for 200 narrowbody and widebody jets from Airbus and Boeing. But their delivery might only start by the end of 2024. To meet the short-term demand, the company has decided to take Boeing 7777-2000 and Airbus A320 Neo on the lease, the report added.
Boeing 777 will be leased from Delta Airlines in the US. It had phased out the 18 777 aircraft after the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected to join Air India’s fleet by October. They will likely be used to extend flights on the India-US route, which is likely one of the most worthwhile for the airline, folks conscious of the airline’s plan stated.
ET further stated that the Boeing 777 will be used to increase the flights on the India-US route as it is one of the most profitable routes. The aircraft’s long-range will allow the company to connect South Indian cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru to US west coast and Canada.
Airbus A320 Neo will be leased from the secondary market. It is expected to join Air India’s fleet by 2023 and will be used primarily on domestic routes.
The airline can also be getting 10 grounded large physique planes again to service by early 2023, they stated. Its wide-body fleet at the moment stands at 43, of which 33 are operational.
Air India Express is also expanding its capacity by taking five Boeing 737 jets from its sister company, Vistara. In 2019, Vistara had taken nine 737 aircraft from Jet Airways on lease. While it has returned four of them, the lease period of the remaining five will be extended by Air India Express.
Air India Express operates primarily in the middle-east. “The airline has decided for a nominal increase in capacity expansion, keeping in mind the upcoming heavy traffic season to Dubai and Qatar due to the FIFA World Cup,” ET quoted a person aware of the matter.
Tata Group’s three airlines, Air India, AirAsia India, and Vistara currently hold a 24% share in the Indian aviation market.
Aviation consultancy agency CAPA stated that airways contemplating plane orders once more are an indication that the business is assured that post-Covid-19 restoration is nicely underneath means.
“With fleet choices having been delayed for the previous few years, this will likely be a precedence for the airline’s new proprietor Tata Group, as Air India at the moment has no plane with the intention to substitute ageing fleet sorts,” CAPA stated.
Air India has also started additional 24 domestic flights which began on August 20 to improve connectivity between major metro cities. The majority of these planes will operate on routes that pass via major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai, among others.
(With Inputs from The Economic Times)