The airline will induct several more airplanes in 2023.

Air India aircraft tail
Photo: Airbus

Air India inducted its newest narrowbody aircraft in its fleet recently – an Airbus A321neo. Interestingly, although the airline’s single-aisle fleet is made up entirely of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft, including A321s, this is the first latest-generation A321neo to join its fleet.

Air India’s first A321neo

On March 26th, Air India announced the induction of an Airbus A321neo aircraft, a day after it had revealed that the plane had departed from Airbus’ facility in Hamburg. This is the first A321neo (with CFM LEAP 1A Engines) to join Air India’s fleet. Business Today quotes Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Christian Scherer, as saying,

“This is a historic moment for Airbus and for Air India. India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honoured that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity.”

Simple Flying has been keeping a close eye on Air India-bound A321neo. Last month, it was reported that the aircraft made its first test flight, departing from Hamburg and spending more than two hours in the air over northern Germany.

Per ch-aviation, Air India currently has 70 narrowbody planes (all Airbus A320 family), which includes 14 A321ceos. The latest plane will be its 71st narrowbody and join the rest of the A320 family of planes, which perform most of AI’s domestic operations.

Not part of the recent Airbus order

The new A321neo, however, is not part of Air India’s recent order with Airbus. The airline announced massive orders with Boeing and Airbus last month, comprising 470 planes. Of these, Airbus’ share included 250 aircraft, which included 140 A320neos and 70 A320neos.

The A320neo backlog, as of the end of January, stood at more than 7,000 airplanes. Airbus is pushing toward a production rate of 65 aircraft per month by the summer of this year, but the environment remains complex. As such, Air India can realistically expect the planes from its order to be ready after a few more years.

Air India A320 Kathmandu approach

Photo: TravellingNepal / Shutterstock

The latest A321neo, however, is part of its plans to induct more than 35 aircraft on lease to meet its immediate operational demands. The latest plane was initially destined for Russia’s Smartavia, but the sanctions on the country have led to several Russia-bound planes going to different airlines.

Swift growth

The Tatas were quick to enhance Air India’s capacity by adding more planes and reactivating some of its grounded fleet. Along with the addition of long-range Boeing 777s previously belonging to Delta Air Lines, the Tata Group fixed dozens of AI’s grounded planes that were gathering dust for many years due to a lack of funds.

The airline also signed a lease for six A320neos last year with CDB Aviation, which will be delivered in the second half of 2023. Clearly, we can expect many more such announcements from the airline as the year progresses.

What are your views on this? Please leave a comment below.

With inputs from Business Today

  • Tom Boon-200

    Air India

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Campbell Wilson



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