Expansion mode: Air India to lease 42 new planes, almost 30 of its grounded aircraft to fly again soon – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Under founder Tata Group, Air India has begun expanding its wings aggressively now. The airline on Monday announced it will lease six wide body Boeing 777 and as many single aisle Airbus A320neo to augment its fleet and network.
These 12 aircraft, that will join by mid next year, are in addition to the 30 aircraft lease announced earlier — 25 A320 family and five B777-200 long range — and will be used to add both domestic and international routes. In a first for AI or any Indian carrier, these six B777-300ER will have four class configuration — first, business, premium economy and economy, and will connect Indian metro cities with international destinations.
This means an addition of 42 aircraft by early next year with vastly improved cabin interiors, as opposed to the poor passenger experience on Air India’s existing fleet that has suffered due to lack on investment on upkeep or maintenance during its past penurious few years as a government-owned airline. AI is looking at leasing more aircraft as an interim measure till its places it “historic” order for planes and then the same start joining the fleet.
AI Monday’s lease announcement is for six Airbus A320neo and six B777-300 ER.
These aircraft are expected to be inducted in the first half of 2023 to be deployed on short, medium and long-haul international routes. The decision to lease twelve aircraft is in addition to the 30 leased earlier this year including 21 Airbus A320, four Airbus A321 and five B777-200LR.
Since the Tatas took over AI earlier this year, 19 long-grounded aircraft have returned to the skies with nine more to follow. The Maharaja has raised the frequency of flights between key cities on the domestic sector and has also announced direct flights between Indian cities and key global destinations like Doha, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Birmingham. It is going to commence direct flights from Delhi to key European cities like Milan, Vienna and Copenhagen, and from Mumbai to New York, Paris and Frankfurt.
AI CMD Campbell Wilson said: “Growing our network is an essential part of Air India’s Vihaan AI transformational journey and we remain committed to increasing connectivity and frequency of flights both domestically and internationally. These additional aircraft leases will support our near term growth even as we finalise plans to refresh and significantly grow our long-term fleet.”

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