Air India subsidiary Air India Express on Friday said it has taken the delivery of its first two new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft at the Boeing facility in Washington, USA. These deliveries are a part of the 470 aircraft order that Air India Group had placed with Boing and Airbus earlier this year and come ahead of the merger of another subsidiary AIX Connect (earlier known as AirAsia India) with Air India Express.
Once the merger is completed, the combined entity will operate as a low-cost arm of Air India.
The new fleet will enable Air India Express to expand its domestic and international network, the airline said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Air India Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Campbell Wilson in his weekly message to employees said that the airline’s first widebody aircraft from Airbus, A350 will enter in service from December this year.
Air India also said that it has completed the acquisition of its first A350-900 aircraft by way of a finance lease transaction with HSBC through the GIFT City.
This is also the first wide-body aircraft to be leased through the GIFT City, the country’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), it said.
These Boeing 737-8 aircraft, Air India Express in the statement said, are fuel-efficient and technologically advanced, recognised for their exceptional performance and comfort, will undoubtedly elevate the travel experience for the guests.
The 737 MAX-8 aircraft marks a critical step forward towards more sustainable operations. With its advanced technology winglets and efficient engines, it achieves a 20 per cent reduction in fuel use and emissions while also significantly decreasing noise pollution by 50 per cent compared to older models, as per the airline.
This also offers up to 14 per cent lower airframe maintenance costs, Air India Express said.
The 470 aircraft order include 40 A350s, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777Xs, 140 A320 neos, 70 A321 neos and 190 Boeing 737MAXs.
Of the 40 A350s, six are A350-900 planes and five of them are scheduled for delivery through March 2024. Air India signed purchase agreements to acquire these aircraft with Airbus and Boeing in June this year.
Currently, Air India has a fleet of 116 planes, including 49 wide-body aircraft. The total includes 27 B787-8s, 14 B777-300s, 8 B777-200LRs, 14 A319s, 36 A320 neos, 13 A321 ceos and 4 A321 neos.
Meanwhile, Tata Group is in the process of consolidating its airline business as part of which AIX Connect is getting merged with Air India Express and Vistara will be merged with Air India. Vistara is a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines, which holds a 49 per cent stake in the carrier.