Mumbai: To meet high demand and raise its market, national carrier Air India has earmarked Rs 500 crore to get 19 of its grounded passenger jets back into operations.
Currently, the national passenger carrier has 19 aircraft grounded due to various reasons most prominent amongst them being expensive spare parts and engine overhauls.
However, an increase in demand due to the peak travel season along with industry’s capacity constraint has led the airline to earmark at least Rs 500 crore for the grounded fleet.
“This is an opportune time to raise our market share and meet the healthy demand. All our assets (aircraft) have been deployed strategically. But we still have more aircraft which are grounded,” a senior Air India official told IANS from Mumbai.
“We expect at least two aircraft to join the fleet within days. Addition of other aircraft will aide us to augment our market share.”
Notwithstanding the fresh funds, the official said that all grounded aircraft are unlikely to become operational before August.
Over 10 Airbus A320s and the rest Boeing 787-800s Dreamliner and a few Boeing 777s have been grounded.
Air India’s fleet augmentation is also in line with the government’s request to airlines to advance their aircraft induction plans.
As of 2019, Air India Group — Air India, Air India Express, Alliance Air — have a combined fleet of over 160 aircraft which fly to 122 destinations, including 78 domestic and 44 international destinations.
Additionally, the airline plans to hire more cabin crew and pilots. The plan envisages the airline to hire over 200 cabin crew from the now grounded Jet Airways.
“We have already finalised 150 crew from Jet Airways,” the official added.
(By Rohit Vaid, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)