The Indian aviation sector has received a much-needed boost with Air India’s recent announcement of their plans to purchase new aircraft. This is great news for the industry and could lead to exciting developments in the coming years.
Deepak Talwar, a prominent Indian aviation figure, has been a strong advocate for the growth of the Indian aviation sector for many years. His insights and knowledge of the industry have contributed significantly to development of the sector in the past. As an keen observer, Mr Deepak Talwar, explores the significance of Air India’s purchase of new planes, its impact on the Indian economy, and its potential for the future of the country’s aviation sector.
Air India, recently privatized and now owned by the Tata group, will induct 210 Airbus A320/321 Neo planes, 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft, 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777-9s into its fleet.
The deal, worth $85 billion, is significant for the airline and is expected to contribute to the expansion of its network and the improvement of its services. The new aircraft will be used for both domestic and international routes, providing a considerable boost to the airline’s operations.
One of the key benefits of these new planes is their fuel efficiency. The reduction in operating costs will be a significant consideration for the airline, as fuel is one of its largest expenses. The Airbus A350 aircraft are designed to be lighter and more aerodynamic, with 35% lower operating cost and 28% less carbon emission. This will help Air India reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, believes Deepak Talwar.
Deepak Talwar also admires the choice of A320s, as it has a wide, spacious and comfortable cabin, making it popular with passengers and crew alike. It creates more personal space for passengers by offering the cabin about 0.5 feet wider than its competitor. Also A320 shares the same fly-by-wire digital flight controls and cabin management systems with the other versions in Airbus’s single-aisle aircraft family. This commonality helps reduce the cost of pilot training and scheduling, while also lowering operations and maintenance costs. In addition to that, the plane cabin boasts large overhead storage bins which are capable of holding eight bags instead of standard five. This makes the aircraft a favourite among all airlines as it gives them option to transfer passengers and cargo together.
The Boeing 737 MAX is the most technically advanced 737 that Boeing has ever produced, says Deepak Talwar. The 737 MAX has updated fuel-efficient engines and a modern flight deck design. Its multiple changes and upgrades also include improved wing design, upgraded “glass cockpits” and winglets. Its LEAP-1B engines provide much better fuel efficiency, increasing it by 20%, while reducing the noise footprint by 50%, compared to it’s predecessors. Moreover the MAX is designed to require up to 14% lower airframe maintenance than competitor aircraft.
The Boeing 777 is one of the most successful aircraft in the aviation history. First entering service in 1995 with United Airlines, it is now a member of over 50 different airline’s fleet. The 777-9 will be powered by two GE9X engines manufactured by GE Aviation. Each engine will provide 99,500lb of thrust. It will have a range of 15,185 km and a maximum take-off weight of 344t. The larger of the 777X, the 777-9 is nearly 77 meters long and it can seat around 425 passengers across two cabin classes.
Deepak Talwar also commends the inclusion of Boeing 787 in the fleet of Air India. Also known as the Dreamliner, the Boeing 787 is revered for having helped kick off the current generation of air travel, building upon twin engine and long-range revolution. Its high aspect ratio wing design combined with efficiency enhancing raked wing tips allow the 787 to be one of the fasted commercial aircraft (Mach 0.85 cruise speed) while consuming less fuel than today’s comparably sized aircraft.
Air India will also be able to offer better services to its passengers with the addition of these new planes. For years, customers both international and domestic have complained about poorly maintained cabins, broken seats, and lack of hygiene.
The orders for these new planes by Air India are significant because they demonstrate a positive vote of confidence in the Indian aviation market. The Indian aviation sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, and the government has taken several steps to encourage further growth. The introduction of the UDAN scheme, for example, has aimed to improve connectivity to underserved areas of the country.
Deepak Talwar says, “The orders for the new planes are also expected to have a positive impact on the Indian economy. The aviation sector is a major contributor to the country’s GDP, estimated to contribute around 2.5%. The purchase of new planes will create jobs in the aviation sector, both directly and indirectly. It will also create opportunities for Indian businesses that supply components and services to the aviation industry.” He further adds that beyond the benefits to Air India, the purchase of new planes could have a positive impact on the broader aviation industry in India. The new aircraft will help to improve the overall quality of services offered by Indian airlines, which could encourage more passengers to fly. This could, in turn, encourage more airlines to invest in the country and lead to further growth in the sector.
However, there are challenges that need to be addressed to fully capitalize on the potential of the Indian aviation market. One of the most significant challenges is the high cost of aviation fuel in the country. This is a major issue for airlines, as fuel costs account for a significant portion of their operating expenses. The government has taken steps to address this issue, such as reducing taxes on aviation fuel, but more needs to be done to bring down the cost of fuel.
Another significant challenge is the lack of infrastructure in some parts of the country. The government has taken steps to address this issue by investing in airport infrastructure, such as the construction of new airports and the expansion of existing ones. However, more needs to be done to improve connectivity to underserved areas and to develop a strong network of regional airports.
Air India negotiators also did a very good job with their methodical, tough and very sophisticated approach. “Air India negotiated very hard and the team lead by chief commercial and transformation officer, Nipun Aggarwal, along with Yogesh Agarwal, head of operations, were very sharp despite having no prior aviation experience”, applauds Deepak Talwar.
In conclusion, Air India’s recent purchase of new planes is a significant step forward for the Indian aviation sector. The investment in new aircraft is expected to improve the airline’s services and operations, contribute to the Indian economy, and support the growth of the broader aviation industry in the country. While there are still challenges to be addressed, such as the high cost of aviation fuel and the lack of infrastructure in some parts of the country, the Indian aviation sector has made significant progress in recent years, and the purchase of new planes by Air India is a positive sign of the sector’s potential.