All Air India Grounded Planes Will Be In Service By October-End, Says Chairman
Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director of Air India Ltd. (Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)

All Air India Grounded Planes Will Be In Service By October-End, Says Chairman

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Air India Ltd. is planning to bring all of its 17 grounded planes in operation by end of October this year, Chairman Ashwani Lohani has said.

These 17 aircraft have been grounded for time periods ranging from four months to one year due to lack of funds for their repair and maintenance.

"We plan to retrieve all 17 prolonged grounded aircraft by the end of October," Lohani said in an interview to the Press Trust of India on Monday.

Eight of the 17 aircraft would be put back into operation by the end of August itself. These eight aircraft include four from Airbus A320 family, one Boeing 747, one Boeing 777 and two Boeing 787s.

The remaining nine aircraft—all of them belonging to the Airbus A320 family—would be retrieved by the end of the October if the national carrier receives the funds for maintenance in time.

"We are aiming for revenue maximisation. Therefore, we plan to put the retrieved aircraft back into operation as soon as possible," Lohani said. Air India plans to use these aircraft on the new routes where it will start flying soon, he added.

Over the past few weeks, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has announced a number of new international flights that would be started by Air India.

Air India would start flights on the Mumbai-Nairobi route and Delhi-Chennai-Bali route from September 27 and October 27, respectively.

On July 3, Puri told the Rajya Sabha that the government is committed to Air India privatisation, and the plan is to make it more operationally viable before stake sale.

In 2018-19, Air India had made losses of around Rs 7,600 crore. By the end of 2018-19, it had a debt burden of around Rs 58,300 crore.

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