The livery of an aircraft operated by Go Airlines (India) Ltd. is seen on the tail fin as the plane prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

GoAir To Add About 13 New A320 Neo Aircraft By March

Low-cost carrier GoAir plans to add 10-13 A320 Neo aircraft with latest engines by the end of the ongoing financial year.

“Based on market circumstances we will tune the pace of induction of new aircraft,” Chief Executive Officer Cornelis Vrieswijk told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of a press meet to announce the October launch of the airline’s international operations to Phuket and Male. The capacity addition, he said, will happen monthly. “The company will remain flexible on the number of new planes to be inducted.”

GoAir plans to add more fuel-efficient A320 Neo planes to its fleet to lower its costs. Indian airlines are facing sustained cost pressures due to stiff competition. Prices of aviation turbine fuel—which in India is the most expensive among Asian countries due to higher taxes—have gone up 27.4 percent over the last year. That, coupled with a weakening rupee and cheaper ticket prices, have led to erosion of profit margin for the airlines.

“Neo has 18-19 percent lower fuel burn compared to the older-type aircraft,” Vrieswijk said. “That, along with a host of initiatives taken by GoAir, will help bring down costs.”

The capacity addition has taken long as the new aircraft are still getting installed with the latest engines, causing a delay in delivery of orders. “There are many A320 Neo aircraft lying there without engines, while the takers are many,” Vrieswijk said. “We will remain prudent in our strategy and will try to induct as many planes as possible by December.”

GoAir also faced issues with engines supplied by Pratt & Whitney. It still has two planes grounded. “We are negotiating compensation claims with the company, but the entire cost of damage may not be recovered,” Vrieswijk said. The company is solving the problem of faulty engines through preventive inspections and leased spare engines, he said.

The Block B engines manufactured by Pratt and Whitney faced issues due to problem in the combusters. Those are getting replaced with the latest Block C type engines in most of the aircraft. “We have Block C type engines for most of our aircraft, except one or two that have Block B combustors,” Vrieswijk said. “Block C is performing much better than the earlier engines.”

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International Operations

The airline plans further expand its international routes to improve profitability.

GoAir will be launching international operations with a flight to Phuket (Thailand) from Mumbai in October. The airline is looking to start flights to three to four international destinations by March next year, Newswire PTI reported.