Emirates to Acquire up to 150 Widebody Aircraft

Abhishek Nayar

07 Jun 2023

In a recent address at the IATA AGM, Tim Clark, the President of Emirates, discussed the airline's strategic plans for the future. One of the key highlights of his speech was his intention to bolster Emirates' order book with a substantial number of widebody aircraft.

Emirates' Expansion Plans

Emirates has long been known for its ambitious growth strategy and its commitment to maintaining a young and modern fleet. By adding more widebody aircraft to its order book, the airline aims to further enhance its global connectivity, expand its route network, and cater to the increasing demand for air travel.

The Importance of Widebody Aircraft

Widebody aircraft play a crucial role in the long-haul operations of airlines, providing superior passenger comfort and increased cargo capacity. These aircraft are designed to transport a significant number of passengers across long distances efficiently. With their spacious cabins, widebody aircraft enable airlines like Emirates to offer exceptional in-flight experiences, ensuring passenger satisfaction. Moreover, widebody aircraft are capable of carrying substantial amounts of cargo, making them indispensable for the transportation of goods and fostering international trade. The ability to carry both passengers and cargo simultaneously gives airlines a competitive advantage, allowing them to maximize revenue opportunities.

Potential Order

Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM), the President of Emirates, Tim Clark, confirmed the airline's intentions to strengthen its order book by acquiring additional widebody aircraft. This move reflects Emirates' ambitious expansion plans and recognition of the value of widebody aircraft in its operations. With the possibility of ordering up to 150 widebody aircraft, Emirates is exploring options from both Airbus and Boeing, signaling potential growth opportunities for the airline. The order might be announced as soon as this month, potentially in reference to the Paris Air Show beginning June 19, 2023, or the Dubai Airshow slated for November 20, 2023.

Clark did not disclose any specifics regarding the purchase, such as the aircraft type or whether it would go with Boeing or Airbus, but did say that the airline is considering the Airbus A350, the Boeing 777X, and the 787. Emirates ordered 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft and 30 Boeing 787-9s during the Dubai Airshow in 2019. However, the airline exercised its “substitution rights by converting 30 777 aircraft into 30 787-9s,” the announcement by Boeing read at the time. The latest orders and delivery statistics from Airbus and Boeing show that Emirates had the following aircraft on order: 50 Airbus A350-900s, 30 Boeing?787-9s, 115?777X, and five 777Fs. Emirates' most recent order was for five 777F freighters in November 2022 from Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Emirates' Current Fleet

Emirates currently operates one of the largest fleets of widebody aircraft in the world, comprising Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. The A380, known for its iconic double-decker design, offers unparalleled passenger capacity and comfort. The Boeing 777, on the other hand, is known for its versatility, fuel efficiency, and range. By consistently updating its fleet and embracing the latest technological advancements, Emirates ensures its passengers have access to state-of-the-art aircraft, innovative amenities, and cutting-edge inflight entertainment systems. According to ch-aviation.com statistics, Emirates currently operates 119 Airbus A380, 10 Boeing 777-200LR, and 124 Boeing 777-300ER in the passenger sector, with 11 Boeing 777F and a single wet-leased Boeing 747-400F from Kalitta Air dedicated to cargo services.

Factors Influencing Emirates' Order Book

Several reasons contribute to Emirates' intention to increase its order book with more widebody aircraft. Firstly, the predicted post-pandemic rebound in the tourism sector is likely to result in a boom in demand for air travel. Emirates hopes to be well-positioned to cater to this rising demand by extending its fleet capacity. Additionally, Emirates acknowledges the need to replace older aircraft with more fuel-efficient models to reduce its environmental footprint. The airline can improve its operational efficiency and contribute to sustainability efforts by purchasing newer widebody aircraft.

Implications for the Airline Industry

Emirates' decision to increase its order book has far-reaching implications for the airline industry as a whole. It demonstrates the airline's confidence in the recovery of the travel industry and its commitment to remaining at the forefront of global aviation. Furthermore, a potential order for widebody aircraft would benefit both Airbus and Boeing, giving the aircraft manufacturing sector a much-needed boost. Moreover, Emirates' expansion plans will create opportunities for various stakeholders, including suppliers, airports, and the tourism industry. The improved connectivity resulting from the extension of Emirates' route network will help economic growth, commerce, and tourism in numerous destinations worldwide.

In conclusion, Emirates' announcement to expand its order book with more widebody aircraft demonstrates the airline's commitment to expansion and its appreciation of the need to invest in contemporary fleet assets. Emirates strives to deliver an exceptional travel experience to its customers while contributing to the global aviation industry's recovery and sustainable future by growing its capacity while maintaining a young and efficient fleet.

With Inputs from AeroTime

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IATA DG Predicts a Net Profit of USD 9.8 billion This Year Reported by The Airline Industry

Radhika Bansal

06 Jun 2023

The airline industry is expected to record a net profit of USD 9.8 billion this year as passenger traffic is rising and local economies are reviving, IATA said on Monday, June 5.

Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said that despite economic uncertainties, people are flying to reconnect, explore and do business. "Latest data shows that passenger traffic is at over 90% of 2019 level". Speaking at the IATA Annual General Meeting here, he said airports are busier, hotel occupancy is rising, local economies are reviving and the airline industry has moved into profitability.

The airline industry is expected to rake in revenues of USD 803 billion and a net profit of USD 9.8 billion this year. Airlines will make an average of USD 2.25 per passenger, he said. While the aviation industry is recovering after the pandemic, there are still challenges like cost pressure and supply-chain issues. He also made a strong pitch for having global standards for a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) book and claim system to help reduce carbon emissions.

While addressing the Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) here, Walsh also flagged concerns about supply chain issues that are raising costs and limiting airlines’ ability to deploy aircraft. He also pointed out that decarbonising aviation is a serious issue and governments must not be allowed to use it to shore up exchequer finances.

He noted that airports are busier, hotel occupancy is rising, local economies are reviving and the airline industry has moved into profitability. The airline industry is expected to rake in revenues of USD 803 billion and a net profit of USD 9.8 billion this year. Airlines will make an average of USD 2.25 per passenger, he said.

IATA is a grouping of more than 300 airlines, including various Indian carriers. While the aviation industry is recovering after the pandemic, there are still challenges like cost pressure and supply chain issues. Walsh said Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have been far too slow in dealing with supply chain blockages that are both raising costs and limiting our ability to deploy aircraft.

Emphasis on More SAF Production

"Airlines are beyond frustrated. A solution must be found," he added. Stressing the need for ways to reduce carbon emissions, Walsh said SAF will be the biggest contributor to net zero success. While noting that there is a need to increase the number of pathways for SAF production and diversify feedstocks while maintaining their sustainability credentials, Walsh said unfortunately, politicians have not made good on their COP 26 promise to stop financing fossil fuels.

"The US approach to SAF is the most advanced with a system of tax credits to drive up production levels. This will be more effective than purchase mandates being considered as far and wide as Singapore, India and Europe. When there is not enough supply, a purchase mandate will drive prices up, stall innovation and limit competition long before supply increases. And if an early policy decision is needed, it is to establish global standards for a SAF book and claim system that can fairly allocate SAF credits with no double counting," he said.

Just as the location makes no difference on the impact of CO2 emissions, Walsh said it has no impact on where SAF is uplifted and used either. "A global approach to book and claim for SAF credits will help facilitate economies of scale in SAF production. And it will avoid the long-distance shipping (or even importation) of SAF, which would only degrade its climate credentials," he pointed out.

According to him, getting the basics of energy transition done is important — production incentives, more diversified production pathways and a book and claim system.

Last month, India said the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should continue to be guided by "common but differentiated responsibilities" in the efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the aviation sector. India is one of the fastest-growing and third-largest civil aviation markets in the world. "Today's SAF production is less than 0.1% of what we need for net zero. But the trend is positive... every drop of SAF ever produced has been purchased and used. The problem is insufficient production capacity to meet demand," he said.

In 2022, SAF production tripled to 300 million litres and airlines used every single drop costing almost USD 350 million. "With the right supportive policies, reaching 30 billion litres by 2030 is challenging but achievable. That would be about 6% of the 450 billion litres of annual production capacity we need in 2050," he noted.

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Turkish Airlines Order of 600 Aircraft Delayed by 2 Months

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jun 2023

Turkish Airlines is embarking on an ambitious plan to substantially expand its fleet, aiming to increase its current fleet number to 813 aircraft by 2033. This previously disclosed proposal received more insights from Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat, chairman of the board and executive committee, during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines' Ambitious Fleet Expansion

Turkish Airlines, Turkey's national airline, is already a major player in the global aviation industry. The airline has built up a reputation for its extensive network and great services despite its present fleet size and operating capacity. Turkish Airlines, on the other hand, is not resting on its laurels and plans to increase its fleet in order to take its success to new heights. Turkey's flag carrier has a fleet that is 10.3 years old. The fleet is even younger when the 30-year-old A310-300 and Boeing 747 freighters for the cargo operation are removed. Notably, the firm's 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft have an average age of just two years. Nonetheless, there are extensive preparations in the works to replenish the holdings with new blood. Turkish Airlines' recent declaration that it plans to purchase 600 additional aircraft illustrates the company's commitment to improve its market position and maintain its rising trajectory. By 2033, the airline hopes to operate a fleet of 813 aircraft, a significant increase over its current fleet size.

Update on the Aircraft Order from Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat

Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat discussed the upcoming aircraft order during the IATA AGM. Despite hopes that an announcement would be made at the IATA AGM or perhaps at the Paris Air Show, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat indicated that Turkish Airlines will postpone the decision for another two months. This decision underscores the company's cautious approach and commitment to making well-informed fleet decisions in the future. Chairman Bolat summarized the requirements as follows: "We need around 600 aircraft." We are in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing, the two major aircraft suppliers. We are talking about the MAX and Neo - 400 narrowbody aircraft." "We're talking about 200 widebody aircraft, including the 787 and A350." We are seeking 25-30 777X or A350 XWB aircraft. We are also in discussions with industry sources to provide this fleet." The chairman emphasized the significance of such a large order and the need for complete due diligence before finalizing the contract. Turkish Airlines knows that rushing into such a large investment might have long-term consequences, so a thorough examination of all relevant elements is essential.

The Importance of the Delay

The decision to postpone the aircraft announcement bears significant weight and demonstrates Turkish Airlines' cautious approach. Taking the time to properly assess the alternatives available is critical for long-term success in the ever-changing aviation business, where technical improvements and market circumstances play vital roles. Turkish Airlines hopes to guarantee that its fleet expansion corresponds with its growth plan and meets the increasing demands of the industry by giving an additional two months for review and evaluation. This delay indicates the company's dedication to making educated decisions that will have a long-term beneficial impact on its operations and reputation.

Turkish Airlines' Expansion Strategy

Turkish Airlines has continually maintained a growth-oriented strategy focused on boosting international routes and passenger numbers. The airline has effectively established itself as a preferred choice for travellers by delivering a smooth travel experience while maintaining strong service quality standards. Turkish Airlines' development strategy includes a projected fleet increase. The airline hopes to improve operational efficiency, extend its route network, and boost capacity to accommodate a rising client base by purchasing new aircraft. These efforts are motivated by the company's desire to provide an extraordinary travel experience while also preserving its competitive advantage in the global aviation industry.

Potential Benefits of the Aircraft Order

Turkish Airlines' large aircraft order has various advantages for the airline, its customers, and the industry as a whole. For starters, the deployment of new aircraft will result in increased operational efficiency and lower operating expenses. Modern aeroplanes are built to be more fuel-efficient, resulting in considerable long-term cost savings for airlines. Second, Turkish Airlines will be able to improve passenger comfort and onboard services with the new aircraft. The most recent technical innovations included in newer aircraft models provide enhanced seating configurations, entertainment systems, and connectivity possibilities, all of which contribute to a better flight experience for passengers. Finally, Turkish Airlines' fleet increase will benefit the airline's market position. With a bigger fleet and improved capacity, the airline can serve more locations while accommodating an increasing number of customers. This increased market presence will help Turkish Airlines cement its position as a global aviation leader.


Turkish Airlines' aspirations to expand its fleet with a large aircraft purchase demonstrate the company's dedication to expansion and innovation. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat's recent presentation at the IATA AGM highlights the airline's deliberate process in reaching this critical choice. Turkish Airlines intends to delay the announcement for two months in order to properly assess the available possibilities and ensure that the chosen aircraft matches its long-term ambitions. When increasing their fleets in the dynamic and competitive aviation sector, airlines must consider market circumstances, technical improvements, and strategic planning. Turkish Airlines' careful approach reflects its commitment to maintaining a strong market position and offering its passengers a great travel experience.

With Inputs from Aviation Week

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LATAM to Stick with P&W GTF Engines for the Remaining A320neo Order

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jun 2023

Airlines are continuously looking for methods to improve operational efficiency, reduce fuel consumption, and minimize the ecological impact of today's rapidly expanding aviation industry. Pratt & Whitney, a global aerospace manufacturer, has been at the forefront of developing revolutionary engine technology to overcome these difficulties. Its ground-breaking Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines have received widespread notice and praise for their extraordinary performance and efficiency.

Pratt & Whitney's History

Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, has a long history in the aviation industry. With over 95 years of expertise, the firm has established itself as a global leader in aviation engine design, production, and servicing. Pratt & Whitney's devotion to invention has resulted in a slew of game-changing innovations that have transformed air travel.

LATAM: Background

LATAM, headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is Latin America's major airline group, having operations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, as well as overseas operations throughout Latin America, Europe, Oceania, the United States, and the Caribbean. LATAM Airlines was the first airline in the Americas to operate the Airbus A320neo. LATAM is currently operating more than 80 V2500-powered Airbus A320ceo and 16 GTF-powered Airbus A320neo family aircraft.

LATAM Airlines Group's Collaboration with Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, has announced a novel partnership with LATAM Airlines Group S.A. ("LATAM"). The airline has picked Pratt & Whitney's cutting-edge GTF engines to power additional A320neo family aircraft. This decision expands on LATAM's initial acquisition of over 40 aircraft in 2013, and when combined with the remaining options, the agreement could encompass a total of 146 aircraft. Furthermore, under a long-term EngineWise® Comprehensive Service Agreement, Pratt & Whitney will provide engine maintenance services to LATAM. LATAM Airlines Group S.A., one of Latin America's leading carriers, has recognized Pratt & Whitney's GTF (Geared Turbofan) engines for their remarkable performance and dependability. As a consequence, they have chosen these engines to power their growing fleet of A320neo family aircraft. The selection of Pratt & Whitney engines demonstrates the airline's commitment to providing an improved flying experience while prioritizing operational efficiency.

The Pratt & Whitney GTF Engine

For the Airbus A320neo family, the Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine with Collins Aerospace nacelle and accessories provides the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions. GTF-powered aircraft lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 16% to 20%, NOx emissions by up to 50%, and noise footprint by up to 75%, respectively. GTF engines are certified for operation on 50% SAF and successfully tested on 100% SAF and are ready to enable further carbon footprint reductions, assisting the aviation industry in meeting its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, laying the foundation for even more efficient and sustainable propulsion technologies in the decades ahead, with advancements such as the Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage engine and beyond.

The Advantages of Pratt & Whitney GTF Engines

Pratt & Whitney's GTF engines have earned a reputation for superior performance and various benefits. When compared to typical engines, these cutting-edge engines provide better fuel economy, lower pollutants, and lower noise levels. The GTF engines' revolutionary design contains a gear system that optimizes engine performance, leading to lower maintenance and operational expenses for airlines. The GTF engine, with its advanced technology and environmentally friendly characteristics, is an excellent fit for LATAM Airlines' dedication to sustainability and operational efficiency.

Pratt & Whitney Engine Maintenance

Pratt & Whitney will also provide LATAM Airlines Group S.A. with full engine maintenance services in addition to the GTF engines. The airline can rely on Pratt & Whitney's expertise to ensure the best performance and longevity of their engines as part of a long-term arrangement. Pratt & Whitney's maintenance services, with a well-established reputation in the aviation sector, will help LATAM's operating efficiency and minimize aircraft downtime.

EngineWise® Comprehensive Service Agreement

LATAM Airlines Group S.A. will benefit from Pratt & Whitney's wide range of services under the EngineWise® Comprehensive Service Agreement. This programme covers a wide range of engine care topics, such as predictive maintenance, engine health monitoring, and even customized fleet management systems. EngineWise® Comprehensive enables airlines to monitor engine performance proactively and avoid unexpected interruptions, resulting in increased operational dependability and cost savings.


"At LATAM, we are dedicated to not only connecting South America to the rest of the world but also to caring for the environment and lowering our carbon footprint." "We are proud to strengthen our partnership with Pratt & Whitney to power our A320neo family, which will enable us to do so as we expect to grow this fleet to more than 100 aircraft in the coming years," said Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

"Our relationship with LATAM, including their predecessor LAN Airlines, dates back more than seven decades with the Twin Wasp engine on Douglas DC-3 aircraft," said Rick Deurloo, Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engines president. "GTF engines are already providing exceptional economic and sustainability benefits to LATAM, and we look forward to providing even more value in the coming years."

In conclusion, LATAM Airlines Group S.A.'s selection of Pratt & Whitney GTF engines for their A320neo family aircraft represents a key milestone in the aviation industry. This collaboration demonstrates LATAM's trust in Pratt & Whitney's cutting-edge technology and dedication to excellence. LATAM Airlines intends to deliver a greater flying experience to its passengers by incorporating GTF engines while prioritizing sustainability and operational efficiency.

With Inputs from Pratt & Whitney

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Air France-KLM to Retire Older Widebody Fleet in Favor of Newer Models

Abhishek Nayar

06 Jun 2023

Air France-KLM, a major airline that operates between France and the Netherlands, has announced intentions to retire its ageing widebody fleet in favor of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. This strategic decision follows the airline's decision to ground its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ben Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, announced these plans during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Istanbul.

Retirement of the Ageing Fleet

Air France-KLM has previously phased out its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft in an effort to modernize its fleet. These legendary jumbo aircraft were formerly the backbone of the airline's long-haul operations due to their size and capacity. However, shifting marketplace realities and the necessity for more fuel-efficient aircraft forced them to retire. The company has chosen to concentrate on retiring its aged Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s.

Retirement Motives

Several significant issues are driving the decision to retire the aged widebody fleet. To begin with, there is an increasing emphasis on sustainability in the aviation business. Air France-KLM, like many other airlines, understands how important it is to reduce its environmental impact and carbon footprint. The airline intends to cut fuel usage and emissions by replacing older aircraft with newer, more fuel-efficient versions. Another major aspect driving the retirement is the necessity for more fuel-efficient aircraft to facilitate longer travels to Asia. Because of Russia's airspace limitations, aircraft from Europe to Asia are now forced to utilize other routes, resulting in longer travel durations. Air France-KLM can optimize its operations and reduce the impact of these additional routes by employing more fuel-efficient aircraft. Smith stated on the extended flying routes, "A plane optimized for 15 hours and one optimized for 12 hours are not necessarily the same." So, of course, this now factors into the evaluation, which was not the case a year and a half ago."

Air France-KLM's Ageing Fleet

According to the most recent statistics from ch-aviation.com, Air France's fleet consists of 15 Airbus A330-200s and 18 Boeing 777-200ERs, with an average age of 20 and 23 years old, respectively. KLM, on the other hand, operates six Airbus A330-200s, five A330-300s, and 15 Boeing 777-200ERs. These aircraft are slightly younger than their Air France counterparts, with an average age of 17, 11, and 18 years old. On the opposite end of the scale, Air France's newest long-haul aircraft are the Airbus A350-900s, while KLMs are the Boeing 787-10s. When it comes to replacing ageing aircraft, it remains to be seen whether airlines will continue with the familiar types presently in their fleets or choose a different option. For many years, the two airlines have flown both Airbus and Boeing planes, so anything is conceivable.

Advantages of Fuel Efficiency

Air France-KLM will greatly benefit from the move to a more modern and fuel-efficient fleet. For starters, using modern aircraft with superior engine technology and aerodynamics results in lower fuel usage. This not only helps to reduce operational expenses but also significantly reduces carbon emissions, which aligns with the company's environmental objectives. Furthermore, fuel-efficient aircraft boost operating efficiency. They can go farther while using less fuel, helping the airline extend its route network and enter new markets. Furthermore, modern aircraft frequently have increased passenger amenities like quieter cabins, wider windows, and improved seating comfort, which improve the entire flight experience for passengers.

The Effect on Operations

The fleet renewal strategy of Air France-KLM includes identifying viable replacements for the retiring widebody aircraft. The firm would most likely look into options from top aircraft manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing. Fuel efficiency, range, capacity, and passenger preferences will all be variables in the selection process. A well-planned transition will provide little interruption to operations and enable the new aircraft to be seamlessly integrated into the fleet. The retirement of the older widebody aircraft will occur in stages, allowing for a phased approach to fleet replacement. Air France-KLM is able to balance the retirement of older aircraft with the launch of newer, more economical types thanks to this strategic strategy. By doing so, the airline may preserve its competitive advantage in the business while still continuing to deliver dependable and sustainable air travel services.

In conclusion, Air France-KLM's decision to retire its ageing widebody fleet in favor of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft demonstrates the airline's dedication to sustainability and operational efficiency. The airline hopes to reduce its environmental impact, decrease fuel consumption, and improve the flying experience for its customers by embracing innovative technology and replacing outdated aircraft. The retirement procedure will be meticulously carried out in order to provide a smooth transition to the next generation of aircraft. As it begins its fleet renewal journey, Air France-KLM is committed to providing high-quality air travel services while reducing its carbon footprint.

With Inputs form Bloomberg

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Air India to Add 70 New Aircraft in Its Fleet by March 2024

Radhika Bansal

06 Jun 2023

With the return of its founder Tata Group, Air India has been put on the fast track to rapid expansion after many years as a state-owned carrier with no fleet or personnel expansion. By March of next year, the airline will have 19 wide-body and 50 narrow-body aircraft. Air India is also adding 550 cabin staff members and 50 pilots each month to support this growth. With North America and Europe being the priority regions, adding new aircraft will enable the airline to address one of the top complaints of passengers—the existing fleet's decrepit cabins—and expand its worldwide network. Recently, the airline placed orders for 470 aircraft, including 70 wide-body aircraft.

“We will be inducting 19 new wide-body aircraft by the end of next March. (Once that happens) from mid-2024, we will send our 40 existing wide-body (27 Boeing 787s and 13 B777s) aircraft for a complete refurbishment. Their interiors will be completely scrapped and these planes will get everything brand new from seats to inflight entertainment and onboard Wifi as part of our USD 400-million upgrade project. By mid-2025, all our twin aisles will have absolutely new cabin products,” Air India MD & CEO Campbell Wilson told TOI.

The new wide bodies being inducted this fiscal, starting with the Airbus A350s, will have onboard WiFi. While 17 of the 19 twin-aisles will be used for augmenting the fleet, Air India has recently started talks for inducting two more B777s so that it can retire two wide bodies. The narrow-body fleet makeover will be faster with a majority of the Air India group’s full-service single-aisles getting a facelift by next September.

“We are going to induct 50 single-aisles this fiscal. By September 2024, 75-80% of our full-service single aisles will be brand new,” he said. The remaining 20-25% will be refurbished for being used by the low-cost arm, Air India Express. This means in two years, Air India’s full-service arm planes would have completely new interiors. Air India had been facing crew shortage due to which this March it had to suspend six of the 47 weekly non-stops to the US.

A320 Neo Aircraft to also be inducted

A few of its Airbus A320neo aircraft were also not being used for the same reason. Now with 600 crew joining every month and almost 200 Go First pilots onboard, the crew shortage seems to have been sorted out. “We are reinstating three of those (suspended US) flights this month and the remaining three next month. We are now hiring 5 and 10 times more pilots and cabin crew per month, respectively, than AI used to hire a year earlier,” Wilson said.

Armed with more A320 pilots, Air India has asked Airbus to give it more planes quickly. The reason is Go First, which suspended flights on May 3, had over 80 Airbus A320neo family planes still on order that were yet to be delivered but got no planes in the past several months due to its financial condition. Sources say Go First was to get 8-10 A320neos in the past few months and those delivery slots are available with Airbus. Apart from foreign carriers, both IndiGo and AI have put in requests to get these planes. “We have spoken to Airbus, seeking faster deliveries and they are yet to decide. We will want to take these planes with CFM engines (Go First used Pratt & Whitney). Airbus can deliver that combination with the required lead time,” he said.

Air India assesses customer satisfaction by sending questionnaires

As it works on improving services, Air India is sending out questionnaires to customers to every day and has received good responses through its digitalised customer feedback mechanism. Air India, which was taken over by Tata Group in January last year, started sending questionnaires to travellers to identify areas for improvement to meet customer expectations in March.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS)-based customer feedback mechanism has received more than 1,40,000 responses in three months, the airline said in a release. In his message to staff, Air India CEO and Managing Director Campbell Wilson said that over the last three months, the airline had expanded NPS to cover the entire physical customer journey, from check-in, through to lounges, in-flight experience and the arrival process, and will be extended to the online and call centre experiences.

"Questionnaires are sent every single day, and so far we've had more than 1,40,000 responses. Pleasingly, although we're short of where we aim to eventually be, we've seen a significant improvement in NPS compared to last year's benchmark, and there are many areas where we are doing very well," he said.

He said domestic and short-haul international routes have scored well as airport operations at places like Pune, Kolkata and Trivandrum. "As expected, the long haul routes operated by our legacy 777 and 787 aircraft are not rated so well due to the dated seats and IFE (In Flight Entertainment) systems... which is of course why we're preparing to refit these interiors starting next year so that they complement those on all the brand-new aircraft we have coming!," Wilson said in the message.

According to the release, the NPS mechanism also marks a significant shift from a paper-based feedback system to an advanced digitalized interface. It identifies key parameters that influence customer satisfaction at every touchpoint, whether on the ground, on board, or post-flight experiences, effectively capturing customers' sentiments. Air India plans to expand the NPS mechanism to measure improvements across all functions, including services provided by caterers, ground handling agents and airport operators.

(With Inputs from The Times of India)