The airline wants more planes to support operations amid aviation recovery. There’s renewed hope for many of Air India’s grounded aircraft, as the carrier’s new owners are preparing to fix them for commercial operations.
Air India has several narrowbody and some widebody aircraft gathering dust due to shortage of engine overhauls or non-availability of components and spares. But they could soon be back in the air as these issues are reportedly being worked upon.
Air India wants to take advantage of restarted passenger requirements by adding more capacity in the coming months. The airline’s graph in the domestic sector has been gradually dipping over the years as private players took hold of the market by growing fleet and capacity.
But with the Tatas keen on re-establishing AI’s presence, many of the carrier’s grounded planes could see better days ahead. According to the Business Standard, the airline is operating on a plan to bring the grounded aircraft back into service in a progressive manner.
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Air India has more than 25 inactive A320 families of
As per ch-aviation, Air India has more than 25 inactive A320 families of airplanes and several inactive Boeing 777s and 787s as well. Sources say that around 8 to 10 A320 aircraft are being restored at the AI Engineering Services Limited hangars. There are also plans to fix some of the grounded Boeing 787s for service in the next 90-100 days.
Much of Air India’s previous issues came down to inefficient management, which led to a shortage of funds to repair many of its aircraft. Some of the carrier’s A320 aircraft haven’t flown in years because it ran out of sufficient funds to repair things such as engine overhauls and other maintenance issues.
Costs to fix these problems ran into tens of millions, which the cash-strapped carrier couldn’t arrange. As a result, it gradually lost market share to other airlines and noticed its overall position in India slip over the years.
But with the Tatas backing the airline, funds are not an issue anymore. An airline executive revealed to the reporter that the current challenge is not funds but the timely deliveries of components and spares, which require to be ordered months in advance.
Air India is trying to fix however many aircraft
While fixing a majority of its grounded fleet will take a few months, Air India is trying to fix however many aircraft it can immediately to cater to the returning passengers.
The question surrounding Air India’s future fleet development has gained steam ever since the Tatas won the bid for its takeover last year. The conglomerate is reportedly in talks with Boeing and Airbus for long-haul jets, but whether the orders will go to Europe or the US remains to be seen.
Both Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 are in contention, but according to some experts and inside sources, a concrete decision will be made when there is more clarity on the AI-Vistara merger. In March, Bloomberg had said that Air India is looking to purchase 30 widebody jets worth nearly $10 billion.
The case for the Dreamliner looks strong, considering AI already works a huge fleet of the 787s, and Vistara, too, relies on them for long-haul operations. But its current production delay could make Air India towards Airbus, which has doubled down on efforts to sell its A350 jets in India in current days.
Hopefully, we’ll get a better idea about the carrier’s future fleet structure sooner than later.
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