Aviation News

Air India reveals first look of Airbus A350, Infra News, ET Infra


The first aircraft to adorn Air India’s new livery — an Airbus A350 — is getting ready to be delivered to the Tata Group airline before this year-end. AI’s budget arm, AI Express, is also going to unveil its unique livery sometime the month. The mega LCC-in-the-works being created by merging AirAsia India into it has received two Boeing 737 MAX which are being painted in the new livery.

AI is supposed to get 5-6 A350s by next March. There’s a bit of delay on the first one because some extra tests were needed on some of the seats by the seat manufacturer. This calendar year AI will get one-two A350s.

The aircraft, a first for Indian carriers, will initially operate on domestic routes for some months so that AI crew gets the required experience on this type under the tutelage of experienced A350 pilots. Then the aircraft will operate to nearby international destinations before being used for long and ultra-long haul North American routes.

This is something airlines globally do when they induct a new type of aircraft. For instance, Singapore Airlines used to operate the double decker A380 between Changi and Kuala Lumpur when the first got the aircraft.

Meanwhile, AI has become the first scheduled desi airline to have acquired an aircraft — that too a widebody Airbus A350 — from an entity registered in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City). This A350-900 is also the first widebody aircraft to have been leased through India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) via a finance lease transaction with HSBC.

The transaction was facilitated by AI Fleet Services Limited (AIFS), a 100% subsidiary of Air India, and a GIFT IFSC-registered finance company. It also marks AI’s first financing transaction from its mega $70 billion order for 470 aircraft. Traditionally Indian carriers have leased aircraft from foreign shores like Ireland. The Modi government is keen to bring the leasing business to India as desi carriers — Tata Group AI and IndiGo — are now among the biggest customers for planes globally.

  • Published On Oct 7, 2023 at 06:37 PM IST

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