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Tata-owned Air India all set to add Airbus A350 to its fleet

16 Jun 2022 , 10:56 AM

Air India Ltd. is polling pilots to see if they want to be trained to fly Airbus SE A350 jets, signaling that the company plans to operate the model as part of its widebody fleet renewal under new owner Tata Group.

By the first quarter of 2023, the airline might be flying the A350. Pilots must react by June 20 to the offer, and those who accept will be ineligible for two years of training on another aircraft type.

 Air India plans to acquire roughly 20 A350s. One alternative is to take on planes that were originally slated for Russian carrier Aeroflot but that Airbus can no longer deliver due to sanctions, as well as planes that Qatar Airways isn't taking because of a paint quality issue with the manufacturer.

The airline, which was formerly famed for its premium services and commercials featuring Bollywood stars, still has lucrative landing slots at most major airports, but it is up against foreign airlines that fly nonstop to India and carriers that fly through Middle Eastern hubs. Tata, currently owns four airline brands, including Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Group Bhd. affiliates are largely expected to merge the companies. Air India has already received antitrust approval to acquire AirAsia India.

According to its website, Air India currently owns 153 planes. They include 49 Boeing widebodies and 79 Airbus narrowbodies, as well as 25 Boeing 737s at Air India Express's low-cost affiliate.

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