Air India subsidiary, Air India Express, has announced the delivery of its first two new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft, which were received at Boeing’s facility in Washington, USA. These deliveries are part of a larger order for 470 aircraft that the Air India Group had placed with Boeing and Airbus earlier this year.
The timing of these deliveries precedes the merger of another subsidiary, AIX Connect (formerly known as AirAsia India), with Air India Express. Upon completion of the merger, the combined entity will operate as the low-cost arm of Air India. This addition to the fleet will enable Air India Express to expand both its domestic and international networks, according to a statement from the airline.
In addition, Air India’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Wilson, revealed in a weekly message to employees that the airline’s first widebody aircraft from Airbus, the A350, is set to enter into service in December of this year. The acquisition of the first A350-900 aircraft was completed through a finance lease transaction with HSBC via GIFT City, the country’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
The newly acquired Boeing 737-8 aircraft are known for their fuel efficiency and technological advancements, offering exceptional performance and comfort to passengers. These aircraft represent a significant step towards more sustainable operations, achieving a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a 50 percent reduction in noise pollution compared to older models.
Additionally, they offer up to 14 percent lower airframe maintenance costs, as stated by Air India Express. The order for 470 aircraft comprises various models, including 40 A350s, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777Xs, 140 A320 neos, 70 A321 neos, and 190 Boeing 737MAXs. This order reinforces Air India’s commitment to modernizing its fleet.
Currently, Air India operates a fleet of 116 planes, including 49 wide-body aircraft, consisting of 27 B787-8s, 14 B777-300s, 8 B777-200LRs, 14 A319s, 36 A320 neos, 13 A321 ceos, and 4 A321 neos. The Tata Group, which has a significant stake in Air India, is actively consolidating its airline business, including the merger of AIX Connect with Air India Express and the integration of Vistara with Air India. Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, with Singapore Airlines holding a 49 percent stake in the carrier.