To raise the market share and to take advantage of the holiday season, Air India has decided to make its grounded aircraft operational. For the purpose, the national air carrier has earmarked a total of INR 500 crores.
Air India has around 19 aircraft grounded due to various reasons. Many of them require expensive spare parts and solving of technical glitches. About ten of the grounded aircraft are Airbus A320 models, and the remaining are few Boeing 777s, Boeing 787-800s Dreamliner.
Air India expects to make two aircraft operational in a few days. The rest will be subsequently released. However, not all aircraft can be made operational before August 2019. Air India will also hire additional crew members and pilots. The airline has already hired around 150 crew members from Jet Airways.
The Civil Aviation Ministry has already requested airlines to augment their capacity. With the grounding of Jet Airways, there is a severe scarcity of air services. The demand is also rising due to the peak travel season, and it is necessary for the industry to address this gap at immediate notice.
This is an opportune time to raise our market share and meet the strong 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, the official added.
Air India Group, comprising of Air India Express, Air India, and Alliance Air, currently has a fleet size of 160. They serve to nearly 122 destinations, among which 78 are domestic, and 44 are international.