Air India Acquiring 30 Planes, Including Former Delta Boeing 777s

Air India Acquiring 30 Planes, Including Former Delta Boeing 777s

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With Air India being under new ownership, the airline has plans to lease 30 aircraft over the next 15 months. This is an interesting development…

Air India leasing 30 Airbus & Boeing jets

Air India has signed a letter of intent to lease a total of 30 jets, including:

  • 21 Airbus A320neos, which will join Air India’s fleet in the first quarter of 2023
  • Four Airbus A321neos, which will join Air India’s fleet in the first quarter of 2023
  • Five Boeing 777-200LRs, which will join Air India’s fleet between December 2022 and March 2023

On top of that, Air India will be reactivating 16 aircraft that have been grounded for a long time, including 10 narrow body jets and six wide body jets. This marks a major fleet expansion for Air India, as the airline will essentially have 46 additional planes flying, increasing Air India’s active fleet by over 50%.

For context, Air India’s fleet currently consists of Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s, Airbus A320neos, Airbus A321s, Boeing 787-8s, Boeing 777-200LRs, and Boeing 777-300ERs.

It’s not yet know how long these leases are for, though it’s my understanding that Air India is planning on placing a larger aircraft order soon, including for wide body jets. It has been rumored that Air India plans on ordering Airbus A350s for a long term fleet renewal project.

Air India will lease more Airbus A320neos

Where is Air India getting its Boeing 777s?!

Personally I’m most intrigued by Air India acquiring Boeing 777-200LRs. What do we know about that so far? It’s stated that Air India plans to fly Boeing 777-200LRs to the United States, and the airline claims it will fly from Mumbai to New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), and San Francisco (SFO), plus Bangalore (BLR) to San Francisco (SFO). Air India will also offer premium economy for the first time on these jets.

It sure sounds to me like Air India will be taking over some Delta Boeing 777-200LRs that were retired during the pandemic. That’s the only former 777-200LR operator that had at least five jets with premium economy. I was under the impression that these jets were undergoing a conversion to turn into freighter aircraft, but I guess that’s not happening just yet.

This would represent a huge passenger experience upgrade for Air India, as presumably Air India would continue to offer Delta One Suites, featuring direct aisle access and doors at every business class seat.

Delta’s former Boeing 777 business class

That’s quite a bit better than Air India’s current 777 business class, featuring seven angled seats per row.

Air India’s current Boeing 777 business class

Air India will also offer premium economy, so I’m curious to see how that does for the airline.

Delta’s former Boeing 777 premium economy

Bottom line

Air India will be leasing 30 jets, including Airbus A320neos, Airbus A321neos, and Boeing 777-200LRs. These planes should start to join Air India’s fleet as of late 2022, and on top of that Air India will be reactivating 16 planes that have been in long term storage.

This marks a significant expansion for the airline, and in particular I’m excited to hear that Air India will be picking up some more wide body jets. Presumably these planes are from Delta, which would mark a huge upgrade to Air India’s passenger experience.

What do you make of the 30 jets Air India is picking up?

Conversations (30)
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  1. Daniel Gradwohl Guest

    Some of the former DL 777LRs are in AFW already for cargo conversion mods. I wonder how that will work!?

    What is the SOURCE of the idea that AI will acquire them?

  2. Kevin Guest

    As a economy class passenger, not happy that I'll lose the extra legroom offered on Air India's flights. Recently travelled on their BOM-EWR 777-300ER and they have upgraded their screens, remotes and the seats are way cleaner, repaired all the tray tables and stuff. Air India advertises their good leg room as compared to other airlines and I hope that stays, but doubtful with Delta planes. I'm also sad that the way to extract more...

    As a economy class passenger, not happy that I'll lose the extra legroom offered on Air India's flights. Recently travelled on their BOM-EWR 777-300ER and they have upgraded their screens, remotes and the seats are way cleaner, repaired all the tray tables and stuff. Air India advertises their good leg room as compared to other airlines and I hope that stays, but doubtful with Delta planes. I'm also sad that the way to extract more money from economy passengers - premium economy has made its way into Air India too. I guess that's how airlines survive these days?

    But definitely looking forward to more US-Mumbai services, an underserved market with United out of the picture too

    1. Sarthak Guest

      Weren't DL 777-200LRs 9 across in Economy? The only US airline to have retained that configuration in 777s?

      Also UA plans to resume EWR-BOM soon as they can. Anyone's guess though when that will be..

  3. Sujas Guest

    A foul dirty airline run by a corrupt elite. Air India deserves the terrible reputation and Skytrax rating. The most disgusting experience in the air.

  4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    Doesn't Etihad have 772LRs in service, which funnily enough, were ex-Air India aircraft?

  5. Mohan Guest

    Why can’t AI will fly directly from Chicago to BLR at least 2-3 times a week so that all Midwest people will easily go to BLR
    If not they can have one stop to Hydrabad to pickup more passengers waiting time not to exceed 60-90 minutes in Hydrabad
    Let’s try all Indian can enjoy AI

  6. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The reason why Air India wants to aggressively and quickly expand longhaul international flights is because India is not complying the global sanctions on avoiding Russian airspace.
    On routes such as JFK and EWR to DEL, AI can operate the route up to one and one-half hours faster. Even with the higher fuel burn of the 777LR, the faster flight will be attractive to some customers.

    The target is clearly western airlines that avoid...

    The reason why Air India wants to aggressively and quickly expand longhaul international flights is because India is not complying the global sanctions on avoiding Russian airspace.
    On routes such as JFK and EWR to DEL, AI can operate the route up to one and one-half hours faster. Even with the higher fuel burn of the 777LR, the faster flight will be attractive to some customers.

    The target is clearly western airlines that avoid Russian airspace including American and United and their European partners. Delta does not currently serve India although those very same 777LRs were flying JFK-BOM just before covid.

    The 777LRs might have been destined for cargo conversions but they are proabably more valuable as passenger aircraft and can generate revenue now.

    I am sure that Delta can and has stipulate that its branding has to be removed or allowed to remain on a case by case basis. Apparently some of Delta's branding remains on the interior of the Arizona Cardinals' 777-200ER which is a former DL aircraft.

    1. JWags Guest

      Id be interested to know who would fly a greatly inferior airline to save 1.5 hours on a 15 hour flight. Certainly won't be stealing J or F class passengers.

      I HIGHLY prefer the direct flights from EWR/JFK/ORD to Indian destinations over the hub stops in Europe, but I would gladly connect at LHR or FRA over long haul on Air India.

      India does high level hotel hospitality and service so well, no clue why it can't extend to air travel.

    2. Ole Guest

      They were. Until 80s Air India was one the best airlines in the world. Even though it was nationalized, was being managed/run by Tatas. However, standard deteriorated significantly and quickly once that arrangement ended and government took over the day to day operations. Hoping, Tatas can bring the airline back

    3. Sarthak Guest

      Not every single discussion needs to be about Delta - There is no 'global ban' on use of Russian airspace for India to comply with. Countries choose to make use of Russian airspace based on their own threat assessment and among the countries least likely to have their assets be threatened in Russia is India.

      Delta flew JFK-BOM for a very short period pre-pandemic and was absent from this space for a long time...

      Not every single discussion needs to be about Delta - There is no 'global ban' on use of Russian airspace for India to comply with. Countries choose to make use of Russian airspace based on their own threat assessment and among the countries least likely to have their assets be threatened in Russia is India.

      Delta flew JFK-BOM for a very short period pre-pandemic and was absent from this space for a long time after exiting BOM earlier in the decade. AI also flew JFK-BOM earlier before the pandemic, similarly and in addition has a much more legacy presence in NYC-BOM area, so it's poised much better to take care of the demand. A lot of VFM traffic also needs language assistance and AI staff is much better prepared to service the demand.

      I just hope the passengers don't ruin the DL airplanes the way AI ones have degraded over the years.

    4. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta is in the title of the article; the likely ability for AI to even acquire the 777LRs is because DL retired them.
      Most western countries and airlines are avoiding Russian airspace because of economic sanctions, not because of safety, just as India is buying Russian oil while most of the western world is not.
      I'm not trying to argue who was bigger in the NYC to India market but these particular airplanes...

      Delta is in the title of the article; the likely ability for AI to even acquire the 777LRs is because DL retired them.
      Most western countries and airlines are avoiding Russian airspace because of economic sanctions, not because of safety, just as India is buying Russian oil while most of the western world is not.
      I'm not trying to argue who was bigger in the NYC to India market but these particular airplanes (if they do come from Delta) were flying JFK-BOM just before covid. And while Delta has not had a large long-term commitment to the India market, these planes also flew ATL-BOM which has been one of the longest flights to/from India based on flight time.
      The 777LR is very capable; I am glad that someone will use them since DL is not interested in them any more.

      And the larger question is the advantage that AI might gain with these aircraft and not choosing to follow Russian airspace sanctions, esp. relative to United which has staked a large portion of its international network on the India market.

      It is entirely possible that AI could use these planes to help improve its image and gain a significant competitive advantage. Instead of all of the others that are convinced AI can't ever be a premium airline again, I believe it is worth considering the possibility that they might do that. A combination of very capable and generously configured ultra long haul aircraft, shorter flight times on major routes (and the ability to serve some of those routes at all), and improved service levels could be a game changer.

    5. Kevin Guest

      You haven't flown Air India recently have you? Their service has always been excellent, even better now with Tata. They are slowly upgrading their aircraft. Flied Mumbai - Newark recently and I loved their upgraded IFE, warm service, excellent food , 15+ hours go by so quick.

      But again, the media wants you to think Air India sucks and that's the narrative being carried all the time.

      Also, Indian service is warm. It's not pretentious....

      You haven't flown Air India recently have you? Their service has always been excellent, even better now with Tata. They are slowly upgrading their aircraft. Flied Mumbai - Newark recently and I loved their upgraded IFE, warm service, excellent food , 15+ hours go by so quick.

      But again, the media wants you to think Air India sucks and that's the narrative being carried all the time.

      Also, Indian service is warm. It's not pretentious. We won't do all the fake pleasantries and waste time in hellos and discussing the weather, but we'll get to the point and converse politely and get you what you want. When Indian hospitality meets upgraded aircraft and improved website it's going to do wonders, if people give Air India a chance.

    6. DCharlie Guest

      Two corrections:

      1. There is no global ban on using the Russian airspace. India isn’t at war with Russia so it’s completely entitled to use the Russian airspace.
      2. EU countries are still importing oil and gas from Russia. The quantity of oil that India imports from Russian in a year is less than that which the Netherlands imports in a month.

      Just adding some context to sensational claims.

    7. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I will simply note that there is abundant evidence to contradict your statements but doing so is not within the focus of this article or this site.
      Neither is Europe or the US orJapan or a number of other countries at war with Russia....

    8. Rik Guest

      There is no global ban on using Russian airspace, Tim.

      The EU, Canada, UK, and US closed their airspace to Russian aircraft, so Russia responded in kind.

    9. Jared Guest

      @Tim Dunn - here is a source which clearly identifies the countries prevented from entering the Russian airspace and vice-versa. There is no global sanction, as you claim, that any other country needs to follow. So, your first claim is simply incorrect.

      https://graphics.reuters.com/UKRAINE-CRISIS/AIRLINES/klpykbmropg/

      And here are the major importers of Russian oil. Note that the EU remains the key buyer. So, your second claim is incorrect, also.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-13/russia-earns-more-despite-lower-oil-exports-in-june-iea-says#:~:text=Russia's%20oil%20exports%20rose%20back,to%20the%20International%20Energy%20Agency.

      @Tim Dunn - here is a source which clearly identifies the countries prevented from entering the Russian airspace and vice-versa. There is no global sanction, as you claim, that any other country needs to follow. So, your first claim is simply incorrect.

      https://graphics.reuters.com/UKRAINE-CRISIS/AIRLINES/klpykbmropg/

      And here are the major importers of Russian oil. Note that the EU remains the key buyer. So, your second claim is incorrect, also.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-13/russia-earns-more-despite-lower-oil-exports-in-june-iea-says#:~:text=Russia's%20oil%20exports%20rose%20back,to%20the%20International%20Energy%20Agency.

  7. DCAWABN Guest

    Will Air India have to pay extra to have the "new" planes infested with rats, or will the leasing corporation throw that in for free like a quantity discount? Or I guess they could just leave them on the ground at one of their hubs for a few days and the problem will solve itself.

    1. Eve Guest

      Even the likes of Tucket Carlson is less racist then you. Also it clearly shows you haven’t been to india, let alone went outside your country.

    2. DCAWABN Guest

      @Eve: LOL. Get a grip, girl. I think actual facts might disagree with you and your grammatically terrible/incorrect assertion. Also it's "than" when comparing two things. Not then

      https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/after-rats-bed-bugs-infest-air-india-s-us-bound-flight-bite-passengers-onboard-349775.html

    3. Kent Guest

      At least it’s not infested with fat inbreds like you!

    4. anvill Guest

      how did the comments section come like this

    5. Kevin Guest

      If we're going with one-off instances anyway then Delta's planes will get infested with rats carrying pizzas in one of it's NYC hubs, United's planes will smell of poop in poop capital of USA - SFO and American plane seats will smell of shit because Americans don't use water when cleaning their bum.

      America's airlines don't even come close to the food quality and the service warmth of Air India.

    6. GLCTraveler Guest

      Relax everyone, especially Eve......... @DCAWABN was just having a little fun with some of AI's not-so-good recent history!! ;-)

  8. James W Guest

    Would Delta really have sold these jets with the brand-new and quite expensive Delta One and Premium Select seats still sitting on them? I can imagine a tightwad company like Delta would be wise and put those seats in the remaining fleet. Plus, everything still has the Delta logo on it, and I can't believe they'd just let that merchandise roll out the door with the airplanes.

    1. Lune Guest

      I think seats and other fixtures are approved by regulators for a specific aircraft type. So, e.g. you can't take a seat from a 777-200 and put it in a 787. Even the same "model" and manufacturer is actually a bunch of sub-models produced for each aircraft type and each has a separate regulatory approval. So unless they have a bunch of other 777-200s flying that they want to keep a bunch of spares for, I think they're probably writing off all the interior equipment.

  9. loungeaccess Guest

    The DL aircraft won't do anything to ameliorate Air India's image. Having flown them from LHR to DEL and back recently, it is clear this is a company that doesn't clean its planes and could not care less about its passengers. Emirates and Qatar can continue to be the better option into India from multiple points.

    1. Jack Guest

      Don’t think of this as “Air India 2.0”.

      Think: “Air Tata 1.0”.

      Tata is a powerhouse…arguably at least on par with the Indian government itself. They’ll have a steep learning curve, especially when it comes to dealing with western regulators. But the biggest hurdle in doing business in India will always be India itself…which Tata has obviously mastered already..somehow.

    2. DCharlie Guest

      The Tatas are already familiar with western regulators. Look up Tata and you will find their presence in the furthest reaches of the globe. They are also experienced in the air travel business, having founded quite a few.

    3. Emily Guest

      A clean aircraft is a myth of the past. I always wipe down all of the surfaces with disinfectant wipes on every aircraft/airline I fly. The conclusion is that no airline cleans properly. The most disgusting finding were used bandaids and (I can only assume) skin shavings next to my seat on LH first from Detroit.

      The second were baby mice/rats (what’s the difference) on board ANA from JFK. In the latter case the...

      A clean aircraft is a myth of the past. I always wipe down all of the surfaces with disinfectant wipes on every aircraft/airline I fly. The conclusion is that no airline cleans properly. The most disgusting finding were used bandaids and (I can only assume) skin shavings next to my seat on LH first from Detroit.

      The second were baby mice/rats (what’s the difference) on board ANA from JFK. In the latter case the flight was cancelled and had to wait for equipment change. Apparently this is a major problem in JFK I was told?

  10. Steven E Guest

    I’m glad they are getting the Delta aircraft - having flown in their 787 in business class from CDG to DEL - it was the most run down and grubby aircraft I’ve ever flown on in 40 years - even the food wasn’t good - it used to be excellent- let’s hope they turn it around

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

ConcordeBoy Diamond

Doesn't Etihad have 772LRs in service, which funnily enough, were ex-Air India aircraft?

1
Sarthak Guest

Weren't DL 777-200LRs 9 across in Economy? The only US airline to have retained that configuration in 777s? Also UA plans to resume EWR-BOM soon as they can. Anyone's guess though when that will be..

0
Daniel Gradwohl Guest

Some of the former DL 777LRs are in AFW already for cargo conversion mods. I wonder how that will work!? What is the SOURCE of the idea that AI will acquire them?

0
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