The Mint reported that Indian airlines may experience capacity issues during the busiest travel period in December because major carriers’ plans to introduce new planes are moving slowly, according to information from the aeroplane tracking website Flightradar24.
The fleet size of domestic airlines has increased by just 0.9% to about 680 after the suspension of low-cost carrier Go First. Since May, just three major scheduled airlines—market leader IndiGo, Air India from the Tata Group, and newcomer Aksa Air—have added aircraft to their fleets.
Air India’s net fleet size increased by 5% to 124 aircraft, while IndiGo’s fleet saw a 3% growth to 312 aircraft. Flightradar24 data revealed that out of Indigo’s 312 aircraft, 47 are currently grounded owing to maintenance work and a lack of spare engines and parts.
Indian airlines are making an effort to lessen the effects of supply chain disruptions affecting aircraft original equipment manufacturers. According to Pushan Sharma, head of research at Crisil Market Intelligence and Analytics, IndiGo, for instance, has reintroduced older aircraft on lease in order to bridge the gap created by the delays in new aircraft delivery.
In order to expand its operations, Air India had stated in 2022 that it would lease 36 aircraft, including 21 Airbus A320neos, 4 Airbus A321neos, 5 Boeing B777-200LRs, and 6 Boeing 777s starting in 2023. However, due to a delay in deliveries, the airline has so far taken delivery of four Boeing 777-LRs and two A321neo aircraft.
The five wide-body B777-200LR aircraft were expected between December 2022 and March 2023, the A321 aircraft in the first quarter of 2023, and the 21 A320 aircraft in the second half of the year, all in accordance with the planned timeframes. To meet its short-term capacity needs, six extra Boeing 777s were anticipated in the first half of the year.
“Supply chain problems are still present and are now posing a significant challenge to airlines because their plans are out of step with the actual situation on the ground. Due to a decline in leisure travel, demand has tapered at the moment, but once demand comes up in October, it will become a serious worry, according to one airline official who requested anonymity.
The fleet for low-cost airline SpiceJet has decreased to about 55 aircraft, 23 of which are grounded.
SpiceJet is involved in a legal dispute with its lessors and is preparing a fund raising while supply chain concerns continue to affect other airlines. The airline announced last month that it would introduce 10 aircraft by September to accommodate the expected demand for air travel.
Since its launch in August of last year, Akasa Air, the newest airline in India, has 19 aircraft in its fleet. A 200-seater B737 is planned to be added. The airline estimates that it will increase its fleet by 12–14 aircraft between 2023 and 2024.
The full-service airline Vistara, which is owned by Tata, has a fleet of 61 aircraft, of which 5–7 are not grounded. By the conclusion of FY24, the airline hopes to have added nine aircraft.
Domestic airlines are likely to see an increase in capacity additions by the end of the year because the two OEMs typically deliver the majority of orders in the second half of the year. Sharma also predicted improved production as supply chain issues eased and orders intended for struggling Indian carriers were transferred to the stronger carriers.
Source- Travel biz