As the void left by the demise of Jet Airways in April is now filled and positive forecast about more passengers taking the aerial route, domestic carriers in the country continue to increase their fleet size.
IndiGo, which had a fleet 245 aircraft including 129 A320ceos and 89 A320neos, recently placed an order for 300 Airbus A320neo family planes worth at least USD 33 billion at recent list prices, handing the plane-maker one of its largest orders ever. The order is a mix of A320 neo, A321 neo, and the new long range aircraft A321 XLR that will also help the country’s largest carrier to widen its international footprint.
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta recently said the India’s civil aviation sector is in its golden age and there are huge opportunities going forward. For the full fiscal 2020 Y-o-Y, IndiGo’s capacity increase in available seat kilometers is expected to be 25 per cent. In the turbulent second quarter, when it reported record loss of `1,062 crore, it managed to add 10 planes.
SpiceJet, country’s second largest private carrier that inducted only three Boeing 737 NG aircraft and one Q400 during the quarter ended 30 September, also plans to enhance passenger capacity in near future by inducting aircraft on short term leases in the ongoing winter schedule when demand and fare generally remain high.
The low-cost carrier that also has aggressive international ambitions and is all set to launch an airline outside India in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, is in talks with Boeing Co. to buy more 737 Max aircraft, which at present remains grounded. The airline’s previous total order book for MAX aircraft stands at 155 firm order and 50 options.
SpiceJet also expects the grounded 737 MAX planes to make a comeback in early 2020.
Earlier, Vistara, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines’ joint venture, said it would almost double its fleet size to 42 planes by this fiscal end as compared to 22 aircraft in March 2019. Last year, Vistara had ordered 50 planes from the Airbus A320neo family, including the A321neo, to be delivered till 2023.
Currently, the Indian airline industry has roughly 600 aircraft in its fleet and the rate of expansion and traffic growth has softened from around 20 to single low digit figure in months following the collapse of Jet Airways in April and softer economic conditions.
However, according to Boeing forecast, the sector is expected to add 2,380 planes in the next 20 years to cater to a growing demand of Indians who can afford air travel.