Air India has 20 Boeing 777 including eight 777-200LRs and twelve 777-300ERs. The Boeing 777-200LRs were used to operate non-stop service to New York. While there were plans to launch direct service between Bangalore and San Francisco, those were dropped following the increase in fuel prices and the airline's own inability to generate premium traffic leading to losses. Currently, the 777-200LRs are flown on the India-Saudi Arabia route.
Last year, it had concluded a deal to sell five of these planes and used the proceeds to retire debt incurred in their acquisition. Air India said the tender for the sale of three planes would be open till at least one bid is received.
“The Boeing 777-200LR is not a fuel-efficient aircraft and on an average, it burns seven tonnes of fuel an hour. In comparison, the Boeing 787 burns five tonnes and larger Boeing 777-300ER burns 7.5 tonnes. This was impacting route viability and hence, we have decided to sell or lease them,” said an airline source.
Air India is replacing the Boeing 777s with 787s to Europe and East Asia routes. AI will use the Boeing 777 300-ER to the US, while the Dreamliners have replaced the 777 200-LRs to Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka.