Air India's (AI) 15 old Airbus A320s, which were bought in 1989, are headed for the scrap yard. The planes, which have more or less completed their lifespan, will be replaced with 19 leased planes. The airline will also return five old Airbus A319s to lessors.
Recently, an AI A320 was forced to make an emergency landing when the cockpit door jammed leaving the captain outside. Even the engineering team was unable to open the door when the plane landed and finally they had to break it.
"AI has a fleet of 70 Airbus 320s out of which 26 planes are around 25 years old. Last year the pilots' union had also written to the airline management and regulatory authorities about the obsolete weather radars on the older Airbus planes," a source said.
The 19 Airbus A320s that would be taken on lease would fly 180 passengers in an all-economy configuration. The airline currently uses a dual configuration of business and economy class on its domestic flights, which reduced the number of seats in its aircraft to about 140-150 on the same A320.
"The new aircraft will help AI take on competition from low-cost carriers that also fly an all-economy class configuration," an official said.