Air India’s Fleet In 2021

Air India operates a variety of different aircraft, ranging from the Airbus A319 to the Boeing 777-300ER. However, the pandemic has changed the airline’s aircraft usage as it focuses on repatriations and domestic services. As the flag carrier prepares for privatization, let’s find out more about Air India’s fleet in 2021.

Air India Planes
Air India operates the most diverse fleet of any Indian carrier, flying planes from the 747 to A321. Photo: Getty Images

Fleet data in this article is courtesy of ch-aviation.

Narrowbodies

Air India operates a robust domestic and regional routing from India. The country’s location means that popular routes in the Middle East and Southeast Asia are well within reach of narrowbody aircraft. As such, the carrier relies heavily on these aircraft for scores of daily flights.

All of Air India’s narrowbodies are from the Airbus A320 family. The carrier currently operates 21 A319s, nine A320ceos, 27 A320neos, and 20 A321s. This means the carrier operates a total of 77 narrowbodies, putting it behind only market-leader IndiGo.

The age of the fleet is relatively new. The A319s are the oldest with an average age of 12.8 years, followed closely by the A321-200s are 12.6 years. The A320neos are the youngest, averaging only 3.3 years, while the A320ceos are 8.3 years old.

Air India A321 Getty
The A320 fleet is diverse in its use at Air India, flying everywhere from Singapore to Pune and beyond. Photo: Getty Images

However, it is interesting to note how many of these planes are currently in use. Data shows that Air India is not operating 25% of its narrowbody fleet (11 A319s, two A320neos, and six A321s are parked up). The parking is likely due to incomplete repairs and low demand both internationally and domestically.

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Long-haul

Air India is the country’s biggest international airline, flying to over 40 destinations around the globe. This network is split into medium-haul, long-haul, and ultra-long-haul routes, all of which the carrier has aircraft for.

As mentioned earlier, India’s central location means that East Asia and the Middle East are within easy reach. Air India usually deploys one of its A320neo/A321s on many of these routes due to heavy competition. However, the carrier also uses the larger Boeing 787 for popular destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

Air India Boeing 787
Air India’s Boeing 787s are central to the fleet, flying to most long-haul destinations. Photo: Getty Images

For long-haul routes, Air India almost exclusively deploys on its fleet of 27 Boeing 787-8s. These aircraft usually fly to cities in Europe and destinations such as Tel Aviv, Seoul, Tokyo, and even Washington DC! While the Dreamliner is a new aircraft type, Air India was one of the early customers, with an average age of 6.9 years currently.

Ultra-long-haul

The final subfleet is for ultra-long-haul routes and the busiest routes in Air India’s network, the Boeing 777. The carrier operates 15 777-300ERs and three 777-200LRs. These aircraft are used for Air India’s four routes to the US and popular flights to London.

The 777-200LR is almost exclusively used for Air India’s flights to San Francisco from Delhi and Bangalore, with some flights to Chicago as well. These aircraft average an age of nearly 12 years, with the first arriving in 2009.

Air India Boeing 777-337(ER) VT-ALU
The 777-300ER is important for Air India’s busy and profitable direct flights to the US. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Meanwhile, the 777-300ER flies to New York (JFK and EWR), Chicago, and London Heathrow. Excluding Chicago, the other cities see multiple connections from Delhi and Mumbai, with the 777 servicing all of the routes. Air India’s 777-300ERs average an age of 10.5 years and will likely remain for years to come.

No more orders

Interestingly, Air India’s order book has no outstanding deliveries. The carrier completed its Boeing deliveries in 2018 and Airbus ones in 2019. As the airline continues to incur losses, the government has been hoping to privatize the airline, preventing further investment. For now, expect to see new planes only once Air India has a new owner.

What do you think about Air India’s fleet? Which planes should it purchase next? Let us know in the comments!

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