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
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
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