BY NIRBHAY KUMAR
New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Air India wants to take 4-5 wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft of the now-grounded Jet Airways and may hold discussions for it with the airline’s lead lender State Bank of India (SBI).
The move is aimed at catering the peak demand on various international routes such as India-Gulf and India-UK.
Jet Airways has 10 Boeing 777 in its fleet which it used to serve various popular destinations in Europe and North America before halting the entire international operations.
“Air India has expressed its interest to take some of the B777s on lease. The initial proposal is there,” an industry source told IANS.
A SBI spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the development.
After Jet Airways suspended its international operations the airfare on most of the foreign routes have jumped sharply with tickets on routes like Mumbai-London becoming prohibitively expensive.
Air India wants to capture the traffic on these routes by deploying additional capacity.
Last week, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had announced to induct 16 B737 into its fleet which were earlier operated by Jet Airways. The airline would take another six aircraft and operate them on domestic routes in few weeks.
While many domestic carriers have grabbed the opportunity created by suspension of Jet Airways’ operations and launched new flights on domestic routes, additional capacity is yet to be mounted on international routes to fill the gap.
Facing severe liquidity crisis, Jet Airways on Wednesday night suspended its operations indefinitely. The airline’s revival now depends on successful stake sale initiated by the lenders led by SBI.