12 Air India Airbus aircraft remain grounded due to want of engines

Sources from Air India said with the national carrier almost set to go to private hands, whether these Airbus aircraft are put back into operation or not will depend on the outcome of the privatisation process.
Air India is allegedly unable to fix the Airbus aircraft owing to shortage of funds. (FILE)
Air India is allegedly unable to fix the Airbus aircraft owing to shortage of funds. (FILE)
Updated on Sep 13, 2021 11:13 AM IST
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ByNeha LM Tripathi, Mumbai

At least a dozen Airbus aircraft of the disinvestment-bound Air India are grounded since the past few years for engine replacement, but the airline is unable to perform the task due to shortage of funds.

Airline sources said that with the national carrier almost set to go to private hands, whether these aircraft are put back into operation or not will depend on the outcome of the privatisation process.

Despite repeated attempts, Air India spokesperson did not comment on the matter.

An airline source said, “At least 12 Airbus 320 aircraft continue to remain grounded. The airline needs over 1100 crore to make them operational, which the management is unlikely to spend considering the ongoing privatisation process.”

“Unless the new bidder comes in, fate of these aircraft will remain undecided,” the source added.

In August 2019, the airline’s narrow-body fleet pilots’ body — Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) — had alleged that 19 planes were on ground for want of spares, resulting not only in huge revenue loss but also massive flight cancellations. The pilots’ body had questioned the airline management over this.

In terms of the bidding process for privatisation of the airline, final bidders will submit their bids, marking the completion of the bidding stage, by September 15. Divesting Air India includes selling off government’s 100% stake in the state-owned airline that is incurring losses since 2007. As part of the exercise, the government also plans to sell its entire stake in Air India Express and 50% stake in Air India SATS.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021