Indigo today confirmed that it would receive its first Airbus Neo aircraft from Airbus by end of December and would increase its fleet strength to 143 within next 15 months. Indigo finalized the purchase of 250 Airbus Neo aircrafts for USD 26.5 billion in August this year. According to its president Aditya Ghosh “The Airbus A320 Neos will start coming in from December- end. In the next 14-15 months itself we will see a huge expansion. We are going to grow from about 98 to 134 airplanes.”
With the newly acquired fleet Indigo is also planning to start more international flights from Kolkata. According to Ghosh “Sometime in the summer, we are planning a direct flight to Dhaka and another to Singapore and Bangkok. When we bought the first 100 planes everybody asked where you are going to park the planes. Today we are not only parking planes but flying close to 100 aircraft. The market is growing at 21 per cent year on year for the past several quarters and there is not enough capacity coming in. So, there is a huge opportunity. I do not see infrastructure is an issue. We have a robust cadet pilot program. We generate 25 new junior first officers every month. We create 15 new captains every month. Some of our first junior officers have started becoming captains. We have just moved into a brand new learning facility.”
The airline got listed last month and it will be interesting to see how the company plans to scale up its infrastructure and operations.
In a move to reduce its debt burned , Air India sold 9 of its Boeing dream liner aircrafts for a whooping 7000 crores. The company sold these aircrafts in order to reduce the bridge loan the company has raised in order to buy these aircrafts. This is a modern day strategy followed by many airlines where the company sells its aircraft to lease it back for a longer period so that it can use it. The company followed the strategy in order to reduce its debt burden which it has accumulated over a very long period.
Air India has 131 aircrafts in total from various manufacturers like Boeing , Airbus, ATR and CRJ’s. In a statement given to PTI Air India sources said “Air India has sold all the nine Dream liners to one Singaporean lessor for a little over Rs 7,000 crore. These planes have now been taken back on lease by the same firm.” The company said that it will use Rs6,000 crore to repay the bridge loan while the remaining amount will be used for other purposes.
Air India is currently suffering from a huge debt situation due to increase in competition and a total debt of Rs 40000 it has accumulated in last few years. The silver lining to this story is that the company will show a positive quarter with Rs 6 crore operating profit. The company is surviving on a bailout package provided by the Indian government and hopes to make some profit in the near future.
Company’s CEO Kenn Ricci said in a statement that the company plans to use these jets for overseas flights.The company will also explore oppurtunities to operate in China where there is no restriction of sonic boom.”Customers are already excited about the jet,They immediately began citing city pairs where they would like to fly. But no one wants to fly it subsonically.The AS2 can fly subsonically over land in the U.S., Europe and areas where the boom is restricted. But it won’t be cost-effective to do so”.
These jets will burn a high amount of fuel,around 1000 gal/hr.The jet comes after a decade when the iconic concorde aircrafts were banned due to sonic boom issues on the ground.According to Ricci “It’s still going to be an expensive plane to operate,Still, with the aircraft traveling at Mach 1.2, its boom will not touch the ground.Because of that, regulators may be able to be convinced to allow the jet to fly supersonically across the country”.As per reports there are plans to create special entry and exit points on the edges of Atlantic so that the sonic boom is minimized.
The company gave an initial downpayment for the order and remaining payment will be provided after specific milestones are met.These jets will reach a top speed of Mach 1.5 and can carry upto 12 passengers.They will be developed by Aeron while Airbus will play the consultant role.