Air India’s wide-body fleet will increase by 30 per cent by March 2024 as the airline plans to add six new A350 aircraft, five leased B777-200LR planes and nine B777-300ER aircraft during this fiscal year, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) Campbell Wilson said on Friday.

Air India has a total 125 planes–51 wide-body planes and 74 narrow-body–in its fleet, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium. The airline had in 2022 leased a total of 42 planes: four narrow-body A321neo, five wide body B777-200LR, six wide body B777-300ER and 27 narrow body A320neo. The delivery of the leased planes is expected by June 2024.

 Air India had in February placed the world’s single largest aircraft order for 470 planes: 250 with European planemaker Airbus and 220 with American giant Boeing. From Airbus, Air India has ordered 40 wide-body A350 planes and 210 A320neo family planes. From Boeing, the airline has ordered 10 wide body B777X planes, 20 wide body B787 planes and 190 narrow body B737Max planes.

The first A350 will be delivered by Airbus within the next “few months”, Wilson told employees in a message that has been reviewed by Business Standard.

 “One key step on the transformation journey is our new fleet, so I’m delighted to share that the DGCA this week issued the Letter of Type Acceptance for our Rolls-Royce-powered A350s. This paves the way for us to initiate various activities related to the induction of this aircraft, the first of which is now only a few months away,” Wilson mentioned.
“By the end of this financial year, the six new A350s, together with the 5 leased B772LRs and 9 other B773ERs we’re also inducting, will mean that our widebody fleet will have grown in size by 30 per cent within a year and that, by March 2024, around a third of the total widebody fleet will feature modern seats and inflight entertainment systems,” he noted.
“The rest of the fleet will then commence their full $400 million interior refit so that our hard product is up to a consistently high standard on every aircraft,” he said.
“As you’re all aware, this has been a critical focus of Vihaan.AI, so it’s nice to see that the process is now well underway, and that there is light ahead,” he stated. Vihaan.AI is the airline’s transformation roadmap that was made last year.
Wilson also mentioned that he and certain other Air India executives went to Apple’s head office in Palo Alto to explore opportunities “for even deeper collaboration”. They also went to Stanford University “to discuss some of the most advanced thinking in areas such as inventory and pricing optimisation, improved engine and emissions performance, and other cutting-edge topics”, he added.

Wilson had in May said that Air India is exploring collaboration with Apple on various issues, including improvement in flight-planning software used by pilots. The airline is becoming one of Apple’s largest iPad customers in India, Wilson had noted.

Flight planning software is a tool that allows pilots to input information such as departure and destination airports, preferred routes, weather conditions, and aircraft performance data to generate a flight plan that meets their needs. Apple has not built any flight planning software to date and it is unclear what the aforementioned proposed collaboration with Air India will entail.