Air India is in the middle of a massive transformation, as the airline has been privatized. Air India is planning major changes to the passenger experience, as the airline has ordered 470 new jets, and also plans to refresh the interiors of existing wide body aircraft.
In addition to that, we’ve seen Air India lease some used aircraft, both to add short term capacity, and also to improve the passenger experience. For example, Air India is leasing five former Delta Boeing 777s and six former Etihad Boeing 777s, which offer much better cabins than you’ll otherwise find on the airline. The airline will now also be leasing a few former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777s.
Air India getting three Singapore Airlines Boeing 777s
The Economic Times reports that Air India will soon add three former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ERs to its fleet. While the exact timeline remains to be seen, the plan is for these aircraft to be used for long haul routes.
Singapore Airlines retired some planes prematurely in 2021, due to the expectation of a slow recovery from the pandemic. So it’s almost certain that the aircraft that Air India picks up will be three of the planes that were retired then.
For context, Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ERs feature a total of 264 seats, including:
- Four first class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
- 48 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
- 28 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration
- 184 economy class seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration
Suffice it to say that this will represent a massive product improvement across the board. For example, in business class you’re going from angled seats in a 2-3-2 layout…
…to fully flat seats in a 1-2-1 layout.
Which planes will these Boeing 777s replace?
Air India’s plan is to use three former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ERs to replace three of the carrier’s Boeing 777-200LRs. At this point Air India has eight Boeing 777-200LRs, with five of those being former Delta aircraft with very nice interiors.
Air India wants to retire its own Boeing 777-200LRs, which are in a very outdated configuration. My guess is that Air India could get a great deal on the lease on these planes, and decided the economics made more sense this way vs. continuing to fly the 777-200LRs.
Sadly enough, these 777-200LRs being retired aren’t actually old, as they were only delivered in 2009, making them around 14 years old. Meanwhile the three 777-300ERs being added to the fleet were produced in 2006. However, as you might expect, Singapore Airlines has historically done a bit better of a job maintaining its aircraft than Air India.
Air India will soon add three former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ERs to its fleet, which will replace the carrier’s three own Boeing 777-200LRs. That means Air India’s only remaining 777-200LRs will be the five former Delta frames that just joined the fleet.
This is part of Air India’s goal of adding short term capacity while improving the passenger experience.
What do you make of Air India leasing former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777s?