Air India to lease 30 new planes, add US directs like Mumbai-San Francisco by next March


SAN FRANCISCO: Air India will by next March launch Mumbai-San Francisco nonstops apart from connecting the financial capital to both the airports of New York – JFK and Newark.
Bengaluru will get a thrice-weekly direct to San Francisco. These flights will become possible as the Tatas have finally initiated AI’s fleet expansion, leading to more domestic and international flights.
Starting this December, AI will lease 30 new planes – 25 Airbus A320 family planes and five Boeing 777 long range (LR) version – over the next 15 months.
The new B777s will have a premium economy class too. Additionally, 16 long-grounded AI planes – 10 single and six twin aisles – will also return to service.
This will be Maharaja’s first expansion under the Tatas, who took over the airline in January, 2022. Selecting the B777-200 LR indicates AI — already the biggest operator of nonstops between India and the US — will have more direct flights on this route that has huge demand.
“The B777-200 LRs will join the fleet between December 2022 and March 2023, and will be deployed on routes from Indian metro cities to the United States of America. Mumbai will see the addition of flights to San Francisco as well as to both of the New York area’s international airports, Newark Liberty and John F Kennedy, while Bangalore will receive a thrice weekly service to San Francisco. These aircraft will result in Air India offering premium economy haul flights for the first time,” AI said in a statement.
Among the 25 single aisles, four A321s are expected to join AI fleet by next March and 21 A320s will be inducted in the second half of 2023. These aircraft will be deployed on domestic sectors as well as to short-haul international destinations.
AI CEO & MD Campbell Wilson said: “After a long time without significant growth, Air India is delighted to resume expanding its fleet and global footprint. These new aircraft, together with existing aircraft being returned to service, address an immediate need for more capacity and connectivity and mark a strong step forward. Air India has exciting expansion and renewal plans, of which these new aircraft are just the beginning.”
Air India’s narrow-body fleet currently stands at 70 aircraft, of which 54 are in service; the remaining 16 aircraft will progressively return to service by early 2023. Similarly, Air India’s wide-body fleet currently stands at 43 aircraft, of which 33 are operational. The rest will return to service by early 2023.





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