New Delhi: Air India, India’s leading airline, has signed leases and letters of intent for 25 Airbus narrow-body and 5 Boeing wide-body aircraft to augment its existing fleet in the near term.
These new aircraft, which will enter service from late 2022, will increase the airline’s fleet by over 25%. Not counting the 10 long-grounded narrow-body and 6 wide-body aircraft that have been returned to service in recent months, these new aircraft mark the first major fleet expansion since Air India’s acquisition by the Tata Group earlier this year.
The aircraft being leased include twenty-one Airbus A320neos, four Airbus A321neos and five Boeing B777-200LRs.
The B777-200LRs will join the fleet between December 2022 and March 2023, and will be deployed on routes from Indian metro cities to the United States of America. Mumbai will see the addition of flights to San Francisco as well as to both of the New York area’s international airports, Newark Liberty and John F Kennedy, while Bangalore will receive a 3x weekly service to San Francisco. These aircraft will result in Air India offering Premium Economy haul flights for the first time.
The 4 A321 aircraft are expected to join the Air India fleet in the first quarter of calendar year 2023, while the 21 A320 will be inducted in the second half of 2023. These aircraft will be deployed on domestic sectors as well as to short-haul international destinations.
Commenting on the fleet expansion, Mr. Campbell Wilson, CEO & Managing Director,
Air India, said, “After a long time without significant growth, Air India is delighted to resume expanding its fleet and global footprint. These new aircraft, together with existing aircraft being returned to service, address an immediate need for more capacity and connectivity, and mark a strong step forward. Air India has exciting expansion and renewal plans, of which these new aircraft are just the beginning.”
Air India’s narrow-body fleet currently stands at 70 aircraft, of which 54 are in service; the remaining 16 aircraft will progressively return to service by early 2023. Similarly, Air India’s wide-body fleet currently stands at 43 aircraft, of which 33 are operational. The rest will return to service by early 2023.