More than 10% of national carrier Air India’s (AI) fleet is lying idle with 13 of its 106 planes grounded for want of spares and engines.
Such high number of grounded aircraft indicate highly “mismanaged affairs” at the ailing carrier, said industry sources. “Such a situation should not have arisen at all as the government has pumped in more than Rs. 6,500 crore into the airline in this fiscal year alone,” an official said.
“Add to these 13 planes, AI has not been using its six B787 Dreamliners for the past two months and its five B747 jumbos have limited commercial operations,” the official said.
“So many planes grounded despite the government pumping in so much money indicates a very poor management,” said aviation safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganthan.
“This is not normal at all for an airline but Air India is heavily mismanaged so it’s not a surprise to see such a portion of its fleet doing nothing. It does show that the management needs to get a grip of its idle inventory,” said Saj Ahmad, a London-based aviation expert.
AI said it had already placed orders for the required spares for the grounded aircraft.
“Even the government pumping in so much into the airline to keep it afloat is not normal. Despite getting so much money the airline is offering cheap tickets just to show good load factors, which defeats all logic,” said Ranganathan.