Air India Appears Ready To Refurbish Two Boeing 777-300ERs

Air India is considering refurbishing two of its Boeing 777-300ERs with its latest business class product. The airline will reportedly use the seats from the “Air India One,” the two VIP 777s which were recently upgraded. The seats from the old aircraft have since been flown to an Air India facility, possibly to be retrofitted. Let’s find out more.

Air India Boeing 777-300ER
Air India is considering refurbishing two of its 777-300ERs with a newer product. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

New seats

Air India has long been criticized for its aging product on the flagship 777-300ERs. These aircraft are deployed to long-haul routes in the US, Canada, and Europe, making them integral to the fleet. However, the business cabin is in a 2-3-2 configuration with flatbed seats, far behind the competition on similar routes.

However, there was some hope that Air India would upgrade its seats to the latest product). In 2018, Air India took delivery of two new 777-300ERs from Boeing, which featured an upgraded cabin design.

The product was fairly similar to that on the 787. The business class seats feature an ottoman for a true flatbed experience, and the cabin had a refined look to it, with an upgrade IFE and controls. Economy class continues to stay in the generous 3-3-3 configuration, offering more width and legroom than other carriers, along with new IFEs.

However, these aircraft never made it to the skies. After flying a handful of rotations, they were chosen to serve as the VIP aircraft for the Indian government. The planes were whisked away to Boeing’s Dallas facility for an extensive refit of the cabin. The new Air India One’s arrived in India in October, officially taking the role of India’s VIP planes.

The seats return

While the two 777s with the new cabin may have upgraded to VIP interiors for the President and PM, the old seats have since returned. According to Hindustan Times, the interiors from the 777-300ERs have arrived in Air India’s MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facility in Nagpur.

Air India has already completed delivery of all its widebodies, which means the airline is looking to retrofit the cabin on one of its older 777s. It’s unknown which aircraft Air India will choose for an upgrade, with its oldest 777s being over 13 years old. However, the upgraded product will be welcome on any aircraft at this point.

Air India Boeing 777-300ER
Air India’s older 777s are over 13 years old. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

According to sources, there are currently over 650 new seats waiting at the Nagpur facility, pending installation. More details will emerge in the coming months once the two lucky aircraft will be picked.

Air India almost sold

Air India is currently in the midst of a long-awaited privatization process. Bids for the airline officially closed last week, after a series of delays this year. The Tata Group (owners of Vistara and AirAsia India) is the favorite to win, but nothing is certain. However, any new owner would likely invest in upgrading the onboard product across the widebody Air India fleet.

Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner airplane as seen on final approach landing at London Heathrow International Airport LHR EGLL in England, UK. The long haul wide-body Boeing 787 aircraft has the registration VT-ANV, 2x GE jet engines. AirIndia AI AIC is the flag carrier of India and government-owned. The Indian airline carrier is a Star Alliance aviation alliance member and connects the British capital to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Air India will complete the privatization process by the first quarter of 2021. Photo: Getty Images

What do you think about the new Air India 777 cabin? Would you fly long-haul with them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!