Tata Group-owned Air India said on Monday it has leased six Boeing B777-300 ER widebody aircraft to augment its existing fleet, expected to be inducted in the first half of 2023 on long-haul international routes.
This is the second announcement by the former flag carrier this year on aircraft leasing. It leased 30 aircraft earlier this year,including 21 Airbus A320, four Airbus A321 and five Boeing B777-200LR widebody aircraft.
The Boeing B777-300 ER will be deployed to connect Indian metro cities with even more international destinations. Air India will offer premium economy, a first by the airline, on the B777-300 ERs besides the regular first, business and economy class configuration.
Under the airline’s aggressive expansion plan, 19 long-grounded aircraft have already returned to the skies with nine more to follow, even as the airline has stepped up leasing of narrow and wide-body aircraft.
Air India has raised the frequency of flights in the domestic sector and has also announced direct flights between Indian cities to destinations like Doha, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Birmingham.
Last week the airline resumed its non-stop service between Bengaluru and San Francisco with a Boeing B777-200LR. Last month, Air India said it will commence direct flights from Delhi to Milan, Vienna and Copenhagen starting February 1, 2023.
The airline said it will also start daily services between Mumbai and New York from February 14, 2023, using a Boeing B777-200LR, besides flights to Paris and Frankfurt from India’s financial capital starting February 18 using the Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner.
With the resumption of these flights, Air India will serve seven cities in Europe with 79 weekly non-stop flights — 48 to the United Kingdom and 31 to continental Europe.
Campbell Wilson, CEO and managing director, Air India, said, “Growing our network is an essential part of Air India’s Vihaan.AI transformational journey and we remain committed to increasing connectivity and frequency of flights both domestically and internationally. These additional aircraft leases will support our near-term growth even as we finalise plans to refresh and significantly grow our long-term fleet.”