New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Indian airline operator Air India is planning to scale up its fleet by more than 200 planes in the next 5 years. "There is no time. The airline has to scale up really fast. It’s stepping on the gas,” said an official. He said that 70% of the orders would be narrowbodied planes while 30% would be widebodies.
“We are talking to both Airbus and Boeing. But Boeing deliveries are delayed,” he added.
Airbus chief commercial lfficer Christian Scherer said that the airline is “reorganising itself” under the Tata Group and will look at refurbishing its fleet with new aircraft. Air India is considering an order for the European company’s A350 wide-bodied planes. If that happens, it would be its first aircraft order since 2006 by the recently privatised airline. It would also make Air India the first Indian airline to order the A350, which is gaining popularity among global carriers for fuel efficiency.
“Air India is clearly reorganising itself under the able stewardship of the Tatas and as such it’s very natural that they contemplate an investment in new fleet and new airplanes, if only to regain more sovereignty and more market share for an Indian carrier in the international market,” Scherer, said on the sidelines of a press conference.
Scherer said he couldn’t comment on discussions with Air India/Tata Sons on plane orders. According to people in the know, he and his team have been in talks with the Tata on Air India’s new aircraft orders for the last six months. N Chandrasekaran, chairman of the airline and of the aviation-to-automobile conglomerate, along with his team, has had several meetings in Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France and its key manufacturing hub in Hamburg, Germany, the people said.
The Tata Sons acquired the loss-making, deeply indebted airline from the government after a competitive bidding process in October last year.