Friday, August 16, 2019

20 aircraft to fly again with Rs 500 crore funds

As Air India plans to start new routes to Nairobi and Toronto, the flag carrier is hopeful that all 20 of its grounded aircraft will rejoin the fleet by October.
Air India’s performance has been severely affected for the past one year as seven of its wide body aircraft and 13 narrow body aircraft have been grounded for repairs and maintenance.
 Air India has a fleet of 128, of which 49 are wide body and 79 are narrow body. At any time of the year, the airline normally has four aircraft on the ground for maintenance.
However, 20 aircraft have been in need of new engines and spare parts for over 12 months. It’s now common knowledge that Air India has been cashstrapped and has therefore not been able to inject funds into repairs and maintenance.
According to sources, the government wants to fill the space left behind by the grounding of Jet Airways and wants all aircraft back in the fleet to service new international routes. Air India sources said most of these aircraft were on the ground due to paucity of funds, but now the airline’s engineering department has started receiving funds of Rs 2 million per day.
“These aircraft required overhaul funds to the tune of over Rs 500 crore. With new scenario emerging, they should be in service within three months,” said a senior officer close to the development.
The source said the 20 aircraft were currently at Air India Engineering Services facilities in Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata. Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani told Mumbai Mirror, “We are recovering all aircraft. The wide body ones will get recovered by last week of August or first week of September, and the narrow body ones will be recovered by December. It took a long time to bring back the grounded aircraft as there was a problem with engines.”
He further said that the costs were out of normal revenue but refused to comment on whether the government is helping with some part.
16/08/19 Yogesh Naik and Satish Nandagaonkar/Mumbai Mirror
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