Budget international airline Air India Express, which is owned by the Tata Group, may add four Boeing 737s to its fleet of 24 aircraft by the end of this year to meet increased demand for international travel, airline sources said. who are familiar with the information. After lifting several pandemic-related curbs, aviation is picking up and demand has bounced back and dry leasing is an option to increase capacity in the near term, they said.
Air India Express currently has 24 Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet. It lost one plane in the Kozhikode plane crash in August 2020.” Demand for international travel has returned after the lifting of most pandemic-related travel restrictions. The loads (passengers on planes) are good and all routes are doing well. Of course there are some seasonal variations that have been taken into account,” a source told PTI. “In the short term, the airline may take four aircraft on dry lease to increase capacity for the interim period,” the source said, adding that it new aircraft will be used to improve frequency on certain routes.A question sent to Air India Express was not answered.
“You can’t open new routes with four extra planes. These aircraft will only be used to increase the frequency and consolidate the existing routes,” said a source. Air India Express currently flies to 11 airports in India and 13 abroad with over 100 daily flights. The introduction of four more aircraft will expand the fleet to a total of 28 aircraft, the source said. “The airline has not been allowed to grow for a long time. Previously, growth was hampered by the divestment process. The competition is getting bigger every day and we have to keep up with that,” the source said.
According to another source, the airline had drawn up a business plan in 2018, in which it envisioned being a company with 50 aircraft by 2025, as air traffic was booming then. “But first, the government didn’t give us the green light at the time by saying that the airline was in its divestment plans and then the Covid-19 happened,” the source said. According to the source, Air India Express is hiring both flight crew and cabin crew, which in itself is an indication of the introduction of more aircraft (in the near term). Calicut on Tuesday. The airline has already completed a round of walk-in interviews in Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore and Calicut.” “And in the coming weeks, Air India Express plans to conduct similar exercises in Kochi and the northeast,” he said.