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Indian Airlines To Induct New Aircraft To Cover Void Left By Go First
The majority of these aircraft will be introduced by market leaders IndiGo and Air India and will primarily be used for domestic routes
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Indian airlines are planning to increase their fleet by approximately 115 aircraft in the current financial year to capitalise on the growing number of passengers. The majority of these aircraft will be introduced by market leaders IndiGo and Air India and will primarily be used for domestic routes.
Although the shutdown of Go First has resulted in a capacity reduction and an imbalance between supply and demand, airline executives believe that the addition of aircraft by other airlines will soon bridge the gap. Go First, which held a 7 per cent market share as of March, ceased operations on 3 May and filed for bankruptcy.
IndiGo, holding around 60 per cent of India's domestic market share, plans to have a net addition of approximately 50 aircraft by the end of FY24. The fleet size currently stands at 304, but senior executives of the airline have set a target of reaching 350 aircraft by the end of FY24. They mentioned that the capacity addition could be higher if there is an improvement in engine supply. Currently, around 35 aircraft of IndiGo are grounded due to engine shortages.
According to a source aware on the matter, the new aircraft to be added by IndiGo will consist of a mix of Airbus A320 Neo and the longer version of A321 Neo. Although IndiGo has plans to grow its international routes, in the immediate future, these aircraft will probably be utilised for domestic routes to compensate for the void created by the absence of Go First. As a result, the airline may postpone launches to destinations like Tashkent, Baku, and Tbilisi to prioritise the use of aircraft for domestic operations.
Air India, owned by Tata, plans to add 21 Airbus A321 Neo aircraft by March 2024. The airline has already received four A321 Neo aircraft, which it plans to deploy from June. Additionally, the low-cost unit, Air India Express, which will be formed by the merger of Air India Express and Air Asia India, aims to add around 50 Boeing 737 Max aircraft during this fiscal year.
An Air India official stated that deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max will commence from September, with 50 aircraft set to be delivered within approximately six months. These are aircraft that were previously built but not taken by other airlines. By the end of FY24, the combined entity of Air India Express and Air Asia India is expected to have a total of 75 planes. Vistara, another entity under the group, will merge with Air India by March 2024 and plans to add nine Airbus A320 aircraft.
SpiceJet, owned by Ajay Singh, intends to add 20 aircraft through wet lease agreements and the return of grounded aircraft by the festive season. A SpiceJet official stated that wet lease agreements are being signed, and they expect to gradually regain significant capacity by October.
Newcomer Akasa, currently operating with 19 aircraft, plans to add four more aircraft by the end of the financial year, according to their official.
Ameya Joshi from Network Thoughts believes that the addition of new aircraft will also lead to expansion in international sectors. He suggests that as international sectors are growing at a good pace, there may not be cutthroat competition in domestic markets.