The Indian Express | Air India to bring all 17 grounded aircraft back into operation by October end

Jul 23,2019

Air India is planning to bring all of its 17 aircraft, which have been grounded for a "prolonged" period, back into operation by October-end, its chief Ashwani Lohani has said.

These 17 aircraft have been grounded for time periods ranging from four months to one year due to lack of funds for their repair and maintenance.

"We plan to retrieve all 17 prolonged grounded aircraft by the end of October," Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani told PTI on Monday.

According to the plan, eight of the 17 aircraft would be put back into operation by the end of August itself. These eight aircraft include four from A320 family, one B747, one B777 and two B787s.

Remaining nine aircraft -- all of them belonging to A320 family -- would be retrieved by the end of the October if the national carrier receives the funds for maintenance in time.

"We are aiming for revenue maximisation. Therefore, we plan to put the retrieved aircraft back into operation as soon as possible," Lohani told PTI.

Air India plans to use these aircraft on the new routes where it will start flying soon, he added.

Over the past few weeks, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has announced a number of new international flights that would be started by the national carrier.

For example, the minister announced last month that Air India would start flights on Mumbai-Nairobi route and Delhi-Chennai-Bali route from September 27 and October 27, respectively.

On July 3, Puri told the Rajya Sabha that the government is committed to the disinvestment of Air India and the plan is to make it more operationally viable before stake sale.

In 2018-19, Air India had made losses of around Rs 7,600 crore. By the end of 2018-19, it had a debt burden of around Rs 58,300 crore.

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