SINGAPORE: Air India Express, the low cost arm of the national carrier, will lease eight new aircraft by 2016-17, increasing its fleet to 25 while it adds more destinations.
"We have already signed three leases and five leases are in the process. We are taking brand new planes from leasing companies," Chief Executive Officer K Shyam Sundar said here last night at a meeting of general sales agents.
"We are looking at a fleet of 36 aircraft in the next five years, adding 11 more planes which have been approved by the government," he said.
Air India Express is deploying new economy class 189-seat planes - B737 800 NG.
He also disclosed that Air India Express plans to increase destinations from within India to Southeast Asia and the Gulf countries it is currently servicing.
The airline is also enjoying strong growth in passenger traffic, averaging around 2.6 million passengers a year.
"The load factor is high at about 90 per cent," he said. He said plans are to add Indian cities to more international destinations that are already being serviced by Air India Express.
Among the new routes would be Lucknow to Muscat and a study on Amritsar-Muscat is also underway, Sundar said. At present, the low cost carrier flies to 13 international destinations from 12 Indian cities.