Air India has taken delivery of 18 of 27 787-8s it has on order. “We expect to decide this month whether we’ll go for the bigger version,” Nandan said. His comments were made this week during the Star Alliance chief executives board meeting in New Delhi. Air India, which joined Star Alliance earlier this year, is hosting the board meeting of the Star carrier chief executives for this first time.
Air India’s 787s are replacing older 747-400s that the airline is phasing out of its widebody fleet.
Regarding its future narrowbody fleet, Nandan said Air India is eyeing a potential Airbus A320neo order. It will also operate A320ceos; it already has five A320ceos on order.
Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, wants to have a future fleet of up to 36 737 MAX aircraft, Nandan said. Air India has three 777-300ERs on order, but is in negotiations with Boeing to transfer the 777s into an order for 737 MAXs.
The carrier is also trying to lease out three 777-200LRs it owns. “This aircraft does not fit in our network,” Nandan said.
Star CEO Mark Schwab, in New Delhi for the board meeting, said Air India’s entrance into the alliance in July was a positive development. “India is the world’s fifth biggest domestic aviation market and will continue to grow, both domestically and internationally,” he said. “It is therefore essential for Star Alliance to have a strong presence in the market.”
Currently, 14 Star Alliance carriers are serving India with 3,212 weekly flights to 94 destinations in 30 countries. Indian minister of tourism, culture and civil aviation Mahesh Sharma told ATW that India should become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world by 2020.
(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)