Air India Looks To Expand

Thu Jan 04, 2001 3:44 pm


I just read an exciting article at regarding the fleet expansion of Air India, I won't get into the details of it b/c it is mentioned in the article below. I wonder what effect the upcoming disinvestment of Air India will have on the aircraft choice.

Source: Airwise

Air India Looks To Expand

Jan 3, 2001

Air India plans to double its fleet size over a five to seven year period, Reuters reports.

"We require the additions in small capacity long range and in small capacity short range (SCSR) categories," the airline's managing director MP Mascarenhas told Reuters in an interview.

"In the SCLR category there are two candidates, the Airbus Industries' A330-200 or A330-300 and the Boeing 767-300 or 767-400," he said.

Mr Mascarenhas said Air India was looking to phase out the A310 and needed aircraft that could fly non-stop from Bombay to Europe.

"We need SCSR aircraft for the feeder routes inside the country as more and more traffic is being generated from behind the gateways of Bombay and Delhi," he said.

"We will look at the A320 and the Boeing 737 (400 to 900)."

The airline, which has cut its network by 40 per cent in the last five years due to the small size of its fleet, is adding three more A310s by April. They are on a three-year dry lease from Singapore Airlines and General Electric Capital Aviation Services. Air India leased one A310 from Singapore Airlines in mid-December.

Air India also wants to lease up to three Boeing 747-300 "combi" aircraft, which can hold freight on the main deck, but is still awaiting responses to its tender in a tight market for the aircraft, Mr Mascarenhas said.

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RE: Air India Looks To Expand

Thu Jan 04, 2001 5:28 pm

Nothing here is particularly newsworthy, except perhaps Michael finally admitting that the concept of IC feeding the AI networks is flawed as long as they refuse to operate at the appropriate times.

I don't see AI actually acquiring the A320 or the 737 though. More likely, they will use this as leverage to get IC to move into a more streamlined joint operation.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2000 3:14 pm

RE: Air India Looks To Expand

Thu Jan 04, 2001 7:32 pm

My sources told me that the doubling of the fleet would happen in a years time (see my other post)! But as i said there, such things dont happen in India!

And anyway, an airline should grow only as fast as it can cope with. the failed commuter airline Vayudoot , which was the fastest growing airline in the world at one time (ironically owned by AI) is one example of what happens when there is excessive growth.

A doubling of the fleet in a timeframe of 4-5 years seems more realistic. I could kiss Mr. Michael for that!

But i am really dissapointed with the SCSR bit. I mean AI should induct aircraft in the MCLR (the A330/340
sized) category. I hope they dont go in for the 767's as unlike the Airbuses, the 767's have limited cargo volume, and AI must choose an aircraft that would meet both needs.

BTW Sean, i hear that AI is having trouble finding 747-300 combis. Is that true? If yes why is this?
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RE: Air India Looks To Expand

Thu Jan 04, 2001 7:42 pm

Any news on what routes will start first?
perhaps Birmingham may start soon ??


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Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Air India Looks To Expand

Thu Jan 04, 2001 7:57 pm

There were only 80-odd 747-300s built and only about half of those were delivered as Combi variants. Since then, a large chunk of the Combis have been converted to all pax layouts (such as with KLM), so the market is reduced even further. I would estimate that there are no more than 30 747-300 Combis left - very few of which are available for lease. ACVitale might be able to confirm this, but SQ seems to have the only ones on the market right now.

AI is NOT going to start BHX service anytime soon. This is from the mouth of Michael Mascarenhas himself (via his executive assistant who I annoy with questions on a weekly basis!). The priorities will be to replace the A300 routes, to consolidate existing destinations, to restart service to former destinations and then finally to look at new destinations.

As I mentioned, I do not see AI going for SCSRs at any time soon. It is merely leverage to push IC into better co-operation, because both IC and 9W can ill afford AI entering the domestic market and undercutting their fares to fill up aircraft that are being filled primarily by high-yield international connecting passengers.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada

RE: Air India Looks To Expand

Sun Jan 07, 2001 3:23 pm

Looks like there may be a glimmer of hope for some of you who have longed to see a B737-700 in AI fleet, i.e., B737-737B.
But I agree with others who have opined that SCSRs, B737s or A320, are not a good match for AI's present route structure. They definitely need, and will go for, the MCLR aircrafts. I hope they will consider the B777s as well.

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