on Thursday inducted the first Airbus 320 neo plane, touted as fuel efficient, into its fleet and plans to take 13 more such aircraft on lease this year.
neo (new engine option) plane is configured with 162 seats, including 12 in the business class. The plane has been leased from Kuwait's ALAFCO.
Soon after formally inducting the plane, which was given the traditional water canon salute at the international airport here, Air India
CMD Ashwani Lohani
said a total of 14 A320
Neos would be inducted into the fleet.
The airline would also look at using these planes for international operations, he said.
Group's fleet size now stands at 138 planes.
The national carrier has plans to induct a total of 29 A320
neos into its fleet by March 2019.
While Air India
has already tied up with three lessors — ALAFCO, GECAPS
and CIT — for 22 planes, the process to select a bidder for the remaining seven such planes is underway.
The induction of the new fuel-efficient aircraft into its fleet is aimed at augmenting the capacity in the domestic market which is growing at a rate of over 20 per cent for nearly two years now.
The maker of A320
neo, European aviation major Airbus claims that these planes burn 15 per cent less fuel than the existing model.
As per original schedule, Air India
was to receive three such planes in this fiscal with two of them being in January it but the delivery was delayed.