Air India Uses Tata Group’s Engineering Skills to Tackle Legacy Plane Issues and Enhance Maintenance

Tata Group-owned Air India is using the engineering expertise of its sister airlines to improve its aircraft maintenance, according to a senior company official. This move comes as the airline faces multiple operational issues with its older planes. The official also mentioned that while Air India wants to lease more aircraft, the market is particularly tight for wide-body planes.

In-House Maintenance and New Facilities

Since Tata Group took over in 2022, Air India has been working hard to turn things around and has launched a five-year transformation plan. To tackle engineering problems more effectively, Air India is bringing more maintenance work in-house and leveraging the skills and licenses of group airlines to handle specific types of aircraft. This will allow Air India to conduct more maintenance under its own quality control standards.


Air India is also setting up a new maintenance base in Bengaluru, expected to be operational by the end of next year. The Tata Group’s four airlines – Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India), and Vistara – are all part of this upgrade plan. The goal is to improve some older aircraft, particularly Boeing 787s and 777s, to a healthier standard. The Boeing 777-200 LRs, which fly to the US West Coast, are especially challenging because any disruption can have a big impact due to their limited number.

Fleet Upgrades

Recently, several long-haul flights operated by Air India’s Boeing 777 aircraft have faced significant delays due to technical and operational issues. Air India has 43 older wide-body planes, including 16 Boeing 777s and 27 Boeing 787s.

Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson recently announced that the airline plans to retrofit over 100 planes, including 40 wide-body planes, and has ordered around 25,000 new seats as part of its fleet upgrade. While the airline is eager to lease more aircraft to address issues with its older planes, finding available wide-body planes is difficult. Currently, Air India is using wide-body aircraft leased from Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.


Despite these challenges, Air India sees opportunities for expansion. Efforts are underway to upgrade the older aircraft to meet current standards and replace them with new planes. Last year, Air India ordered 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing, including 70 wide-body aircraft. The airline is already operating six A350s, which will be used more on international routes in the coming months.

As part of the Tata Group’s airline business consolidation, AIX Connect is merging with Air India Express, and Vistara is merging with Air India. Both mergers are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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