150 New Planes To Add This Fiscal Year To Fight Fare Turbulence
The limitations prevailing in the Indian aviation industry due to the grounding of Jet Airways should prove temporary as carriers are looking to add about 150 planes in this financial yea. This would mostly fly on domestic routes which was earlier planned to be 80 in number.
The lack of planes has led to cancellations and surging fares, forcing the government to step in and seek ways of reining in ticket prices. At its peak, Jet Airways operated a fleet of 119 aircraft.
Of the total, IndiGo will add the most — 50. Vistara, AirAsia India and SpiceJet plan to induct more planes than earlier planned while GoAir will add 10. IndiGo’s deliveries will be as per schedule. “The airline would go with its predetermined schedule of about one aircraft a week this fiscal,” said an executive.
SpiceJet is stepping up capacity additions aggressively, having announced it would induct 27 planes, including five Bombardier Q400s aircraft. It now plans to induct 23 more, boosting new additions to 50. The airline will also have to make up for 13 Boeing 737 Max planes grounded after the worldwide safety ban on them.
Some of the slack will be picked up by grounded Jet Airways planes.
Meeting on Slot Allocation
“We are leasing Boeing 737 NG planes that were operated by Jet Airways and were grounded by lessors,” said an airline executive who did not want to be identified. “These planes can join the system much faster.”
AirAsia India, which was to induct seven planes during the current fiscal has decided to induct 14, five of them in July.
Vistara has informed the government it will induct 20 planes this year, up from 12 planned earlier, with the aircraft likely to start joining its fleet in June.
State-owned Air India plans to get its grounded planes airborne by October. “We have over 25 planes of our fleet grounded due to want of spares,” said an Air India official.
GoAir also has close to 10 planes on the ground and has been unsuccessfully trying to lease them out.
The carrier had asked Airbus last year to go slow on plane deliveries as it didn’t have enough pilots, said two people with knowledge of the development. The airline has, in the past month, hired 50 Boeing commanders from Jet Airways and is training them on Airbus planes, said a person close to the development, adding that it plans to induct more aircraft.
On April 18, the aviation ministry formed a committee with representatives from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India and private airport operators to allocate Jet’s slots to other airlines. The first meeting on slot allocation is slated to take place on Monday and slots are to be awarded to airlines for three months. “If Jet Airways starts flying and asks for its slots, they will go back to Jet Airways,” aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola had told reporters last week.