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Air India Fleet Expansion  
User currently offlineTeahan From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 5310 posts, RR: 61
Posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2185 times:

Hey,

I did a search but didn't find much (found a lot on privatisation but that's all)

Are Air India planning any orders future in the near future? The seem to have a rather old fleet. Airbus recently made a presentation offering A380s (at least 9 of them), A330-200s and A340-500s (source: Airliner World)

Does the A380 make sense for Air India? I certainly think so. If the Indian Economy continues growing fast over the next few years, which I presume it will, we should see a boum in Indian air travel (Jet Airways seems to be a prime example) It could surely be used on both high capacity domestic and international routes.

What about the B777 and Air India? I remember an article that Boeing was desperate to get Air India on the B777 customer list. Anything?

What about the fleets of Indian Airlines and Alliance Air?

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan



Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineA330-243 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 251 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2101 times:

Weren't they seriously considering the 777 a while back? They don't have an aircraft in the A340/777 category. I think they should operate an a/c between B742 and A300.

I don't know much about Air India (I won't use the acronym AI, it could get confusing!), I'm curious to know for what routes there is demand for A380.

Very funny comments in the other thread 'AI Divestment'. After reading that I would not be too optimistic about new orders in the near future.

It reminds me about their decision to fly to BHX last year. They later changed there mind, apparently they didn't have the planes!

To the experts. Will AI order AI?!?! (see what I mean)

What about the A319 for IC, they operate a large fleet of A320s. Thats of course if they are expanding.


User currently offlineMandargb From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2096 times:

About Air India:
In last couple of weeks there is a discussion about Air India Fleet expansion in one of these forums on .net.
Please search that to get more details.
Look at the thread "Air India Fleet Expansion" posted on 04/14/2001.

It give complete details(including reg nos) about Air India Fleet and its expansion plan.

The main highlight is no 777.
Only 747s and A300/310 are being looked at.

About Indian Airlines:
Indian Airlines fleet as given by their website is

Presently, IAL has 55 aircraft, their distribution are as under :

Airbus A300 = 11

Airbus A320 = 30

Boeing B737 = 11

Dornier DO228 = 3


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2099 times:

AI's fleet presently consists of :

B747-237B (4) w/ PWJT9D engines
VT-EFU
VT-EGA
VT-EGB
VT-EGC
These are late 70s-early 80s deliveries

B747-337M (2) w/ GE CF6 engines
VT-EPW
VT-EPX
Both of these are 1988 deliveries

B747-437B (6) w/ PW4000 engines
VT-ESM
VT-ESN
VT-ESO
VT-ESP
VT-EVA
VT-EVB
The first 4 are 1992 deliveries and the last 2 are 1996.

A300B4 (3) w/ GE CF6 engines
VT-EHN
VT-EHO
VT-EHQ
All early 1980s deliveries - for sale

A310-304 (8) w/ GE CF6 engines
VT-EJG
VT-EJH
VT-EJI
VT-EJJ
VT-EJK
VT-EJL
VT-EQS
VT-EQT
The first 6 were mid80s and the last 2 were early 90s. 2 more are coming in on lease from GECAS in May as VT-EVG and VT-EVH - these are ex-Emirates aircraft

A310-324 (2) w/ PW 4000 engines
VT-EVE
VT-EVF
On lease from Singapore Airlines - formerly 9V-STS and 9V-STU


I flew on the oldest 742, VT-EFU last night and I was very surprised to see what a good condition she is in. They recently redid the interiors to the 2 class (J/Y)configuration and installed the new Business class seats - which are VERY comfortable. I see at least 4-5 years of life left in these, which means the situation isn't really as bad as it may seem on paper.

AI cannot purchase new aircraft for now due to a court order restricting them and IC from making new purchases pending the outcome of an investigation into the kickbacks that Airbus paid to secure the A320 order. Speculation that AI will order any new types is just that - speculation. They can place an order for new aircraft, but they cannot accept delivery until the court allows it - which understandably makes it hard to negotiate.

Additionally, AI will not be inducting any new types into the fleet (even through lease) until the divestment process is complete (which could be forever at the present rate). They are presently seeking to acquire the mythical 743 Combi with 2 man cockpits, despite a number of 744 Combis available on the market for CHEAPER! What a bunch of retards....

On the 777 issue, AI and Boeing had a preliminary agreement in place for a 6 aircraft order a few yrs ago to be announced at Farnborough. Unfortunately, politics conspired to put this order on the back burner and it died a slow death.

What is my view about AI in the short term? An expansion of the A310 fleet by about 50%, coupled with the phasing out of the A300s in the next few years. Acquisition of 3-5 more 744s after that, and phasing out of the 742s in about 5 yrs. Possibly an introduction of a new type in the same timeframe, depending on when the court order is lifted and how the divestment process proceeds.

IC is presently operating 12 A300s and 31 A320s. The A300s were supposed to be supplemented by AI's 3 A300s, but that deal fell through and is now all but dead. They too are constrained from ordering new aircraft by the same court ruling and their situation with the A300s is much more dire than AI. I can see the A330 being an ideal replacement for this market.

CD is operating a handful of 732s, which struggle to pass their C of A checks everytime they are due. Those aircraft are near 30 yrs old, have high cycles and in pretty poor condition (although they are maintained about as well as they can be). The likely replacements here are the A319 or the 73G, but the most logical one from an operational standpoint would be the 717. But logic was never an issue in the Indian aviation industry.


User currently offlineMandargb From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2078 times:

Sorry Folks
In my earlier post I gave a reference to same thread.
Actually please refer to "Air India Question? " posted on 02/19/2001 in "Technical/Opertaion" forum for some fleet details.


User currently offlineGOOFY From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

Well, I do hope that they make a wise decision and an exciting one but reviewing their current financial situation, I would doubt it. Maybe couple of A319, A320s or A321s or some 757 300s would be good for them for the time being or even A340s.

User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2057 times:


Sean: Court Order? Which one?

AFAIK, it is the impending privatisation that is preventing an expansion of the fleet.
The FInance Ministry has really tightened the purse strings, and they're like:
why buy new aircraft if the airline(s) have to be sold anyway, much to the exasperation of
the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Atleast this was the kind of discussion going on when IC was seeking to dispose the
old 732's operated by low-fare subsidiary CD. Also the 732's are nowhere near 30 years old. The
Indian laws prevent aircraft older than 25 years from operating. AFAIK, the oldest is around 21 years old
while the newest is around 13 years (the LAST 732 built by Boeing went to IC).

I agree that Ai is in need of some serious fleet planning. I mean 23 aircraft is too small a fleet
to do anything with. Is it any wonder that AI is rapidly losing out despite the fact that the
Indian air-travel market is simply booming.

My friend was narrating some statistics which, though i dont know how true they are, are shocking.
AI holds just 7% of the outbound traffic. IC which is a "domestic carrier" holds 19% of the international traffic!
Also "domestic" IC flies to more international destinations on its own metal than
"International" AI!

As far as AI going in for 777's is concerned, i dont see this happening. And i hope it doesnt.
I feel a mix of A330/A340's is best for AI. Personal opinion of course.

According to one close friend working with the carrier, there is a strong "Boeing-lobby" in AI
which is so persistent that over 17 years after AI chose the A310-304's over 767-200/300's,
this lobby still raises a stink about how that was a bad decision. And they never forget to
add that mistakes shouldnt be repeated so AI must switch to the 777!

I think the A310 decision was right at the time as the 310 could carry a nice mix of pax and cargo
in the underfloor holds, which the competing 767's couldnt. The only complaint against the 310 seems to be that it doesnt have the
range. That is a separate issue which I feel AI's engg dept and Airbus must look into. Airbus claims
that the A310 can fly 9660 kms non-stop full load. That range should be more than sufficient for
AI's needs. If AI is not getting that kind of performance, it should seek redressal.

IC did take the engine manufacturer IAE to court after promised performance parameters for their
V2500's were not being achieved. IC operates around 32 A320's with these engines.

I personally think that AI should over the next 10 years work out a comprehensive fleet
restructuring plan. Even today they are looking for 205 seater A310's because that is the no of
seats that AI mktg is confident of filling. But what about the future? What happens when traffic
from India grows (and it is positively booming!). I think AI should go in for larger aircraft
in the 270-310 seat class, and retain the A310's for domestic short hauls and operations from
smaller cities like CCJ. AI could if it wants to become a serious player in the domestic market.
The advantages would be 2 fold: It would bring in much needed revenue, and 2:it would reduce the
dependence on IC/CD, which would tremendously reduce IC's bargaining power and force it to the
negotiating table. Right now, from where i see it, IC is virtually playing a game of blackmail
with AI.

AI should consider the A330-300 sized aircraft which can comfortably carry 290 pax and cargo
over 12000 kms.

Finally instead of typically banking on the oversized "Jumbo" to handle their prestigious routes like
LHR and JFK, AI should seriously consider offering non-stops using smaller A340 sized jets
from BOM/DEL to JFK/ORD and LAX.

And i dont think this is entirely impossible, even considering AI's way of handling things. i think
induction of 5 A330-300's, 3 A340-300's and 3 744's over a 2 year period would tremendously help AI
in improving its hold on the market and financial performance.

about the A380, i dont know from where this idea started, but it is plain ridiculous. Or mebbe AI
could induct a couple just for their "lungi flights". After all Emirates has ordered A380's just for
these flights!



User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2042 times:

Don't quote me on this, but I believe the order is in place from the Delhi High Court or some other kangaroo jurisdiction. I was surprised to hear of it myself, but my dad assures me that it is (or at least was) in place - which affected the 777 deal and explains the foot dragging going on.

I disagree with the idea of the A340 being useful for AI. I am a firm believer that the 340 is a downright BAD aircraft - it is cheap to operate but it is seriously underpowered and holds zero commonality with anything AI presently operates. The 777 would be a better fit with the PW4000 commonality with the 744 and the SQ A310s.

I can see the A330 replacing the A310 in the long term, but the 310s have plenty of life left in them. Yes, the CF6 powered aircraft have performance issues wrt range and payload, but most of those come about because summer conditions at DEL fall outside what Airbus considers to be normal operating parameters. There is no redressal to be sought and AI is very pleased with the Airbus products contrary to your perception. However, there is no quality Airbus product that can hold anything near the 744 right now, so its a moot point.

I am a firm believer that the A380 cannot be built in the form that Airbus is promising. If they build it, and it shows the operating specs that it promises, then maybe AI will consider it - but for now they are doing the absolute right thing in doing nothing (and they do it so well too... years of practice!  Smile )

Also, ref the CD 732s, they are all within 20yrs of age - I didn't realize that the older ones had been sold to the IAF as VIP transports. However, the last 732 built was not an IC delivery - but rather to Xiamen Airlines of China in August 1988 as B-2524. IC's last delivery was VT-EHX in August of 1983 - also in service as a VIP transport now.


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6675 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2018 times:

I think that Air India may get the 777-200LR or A340-500 to fly nonstop flights to North America. They may hold off a little until they are privatized or they may have to arrange some lease arrangement with ILFC or GECAS. India - North America seems to be the next new nonstop market to be open up. Air Canada starts YVR-BOM later this year and I think Air India may be forced to compete if more carriers starts nonstop service. I think a nonstop to JFK would be first on their list. I would also like to see the 742s and perhaps also the 310s being replaced by 777-200ER. The777Man


Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2001 times:

India-North America would be a fascinating market for AI to pursue, merely because of the plethora of 5th freedom rights available to AI. Just dreaming here, but a daily BOM-JFK and DEL-ORD flight supplemented by a daily BOM-LHR-JFK would be an interesting set of operations. However, there is no aircraft available presently that is capable of handling those routes during summer ops at DEL, so it will not happen for a while.



User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6675 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1987 times:

The 777-200LR that's coming out in about three years will easily make those routes nonstop even in the summertime. The777Man


Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineTeahan From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 5310 posts, RR: 61
Reply 11, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1959 times:

Hey,

Thanks for all your replies! Now I definitely understand the Air India situation! Big grin

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan



Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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