HOTR: Air India faces a host of problems as owners negotiate massive jet deal

By Bryan Corliss

Jan. 11, 2023, © Leeham News:

Air India – now owned by the Indian industrial giant Tata Sons – is reportedly close to placing what may end up being the largest commercial aircraft order in the industry’s history.

Air India image of a Boeing 787 in the airline’s livery.

The market is a key one for Boeing, especially right now, after it has been locked out of China because of geopolitical tensions. Air India, in particular, is said to be negotiating with Boeing to take up to 50 737s originally built for Chinese airlines, as part of a massive order that could total 500 planes. 

As LNA reported back in September, Boeing has about 140 737 MAXes ordered by Chinese airlines or leasing companies ordering on their behalf. That’s about 50% of the total number of built but undelivered MAXes Boeing had in storage going into last year’s fourth quarter.

It’s fortunate for Air India and Boeing both that the airline has a need for a lot of new aircraft at a time when Boeing needs to move a lot of planes, but adding new aircraft is just one of many major challenges Air India’s new owners face right now.


  • 2023 in India: Two airlines dominate
  • Air India may snap up Chinese whitetails 
  • Tata has a lot of work to do  

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Analysts forecast traffic growth but scant profits for Indian airlines

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By Bryan Corliss

Oct. 17, 2022 © Leeham News: After sustaining major losses in their most-recent fiscal years, India’s airlines will recover in 2022. But rising fuel and labor costs, plus weak prospects for financing will constrain near-term growth.

That’s the analysis of Aairavat Transport & Technology Ventures consulting firm.

An IndiGo Airlines A320Neo on the runway at Mumbai. IndiGo is India’s largest airline. Photo by Timothy A. Gonsalves.

AT-TV’s assessment is less bullish than Boeing’s market outlook, which projects Indian airlines to add 25% capacity over the next year, with long-term growth targeted for 7%. Airbus is slightly more cautious, projecting 6.2% annual growth over the next two decades.

India is one of the world’s largest aviation markets. It’s also been one of the most challenging, with bankruptcies and constant financial distress plaguing the industry.

  • India airlines have been in upheaval
  • Tata Group wants new aircraft for Air India
  • Indian airlines sustained major losses last year
  • OEMs see long-term growth, but near-term outlook is choppy

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Preferred 737 MAX return to service timeline for Airlines

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By Vincent Valery


Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: As Boeing sorts out final requirements with regulators for the 737 MAX return to service, preparations to resume deliveries are in full steam.

The company is hiring scores of temporary workers to return grounded and built but not yet delivered airframes. A note from Alliance Bernstein estimates that Boeing will be able to hand over 25 aircraft per month on top of those that come off the assembly line.

After taking hefty losses and having lost its most robust cash flow source for almost a year, Boeing will want to hand over as many aircraft to airlines as fast as possible.

Do all 737 MAX customers, likewise, want their aircraft back in service as soon as possible?

  • National regulators will drive return to service timeline;
  • Passenger demand variations;
  • 737 MAX exposure by region;
  • Demand peaks might dictate who flies first;
  • Maintenance, compensation, and other considerations.

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India’s Spicejet big turnaround

Boeing 737-8. Boeing photo.

May 2, 2018, © Leeham News: Spicejet, the Indian low-cost airline, in its 2016-2017 Annual Report (to March 31) didn’t mince words or try to parse over its troubled history:

“Back after near shutdown. Restoring confidence. Organisational restructuring. Rising crude prices.Stiff competition. Legacy issues. We were determined to transform.”

These words are on the first page of the Annual Report.

Name another airline that is so up-front, open and candid about its past turmoil.

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