Air India to induct 14 fuel efficient Airbus A320neo aircraft

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New Delhi : National flag carrier Air India on Thursday said it plans to lease and induct 14 A320neo (new engine option) aircraft in 2017.

According to Air India's Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, the airline will induct 14 A320neo this year.

Lohani spoke at the induction ceremony of the first ever A320neo which joined the national passenger carrier's fleet on Thursday. Subsequently, the airline has become the third operator of the fuel efficient aircraft in the country after IndiGo and GoAir.

However, it is the only airline in India to operate the A320neo aircraft powered by CFM engine. Air India has been operating A320 aircraft since 1989.

The first of the 14 aircraft which are proposed to be inducted into the airline has been leased out from Kuwait headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company.

"The Airbus A320neo aircraft has a seat configuration of 162 seats including 12 seats in the business class," the airline said in a statement.

"The A320neo will join Air India's existing fleet of 66 A320 family aircraft thus making Air India's fleet size to 138 planes."

In all, Air India plans to induct 29 aircraft of A320neo type in its fleet by 2019.

Fleet-wise, Air India operates a mix of wide-body Boeing B777s, B747s, B787 Dreamliner and the narrow body Airbus A321s, A320s and A319 aircraft.

"Air India has become the latest A320neo operator after taking delivery of the first of 14 aircraft leased from Kuwait headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease And Finance Company, becoming the first CFM powered NEO operator in India," aerospace major Airbus said in a separate statement.

"The delivery is also the first NEO for ALAFCO from an order for 85 A320neo Family. The A320neo will join Air India's existing fleet of 66 A320 Family aircraft."

The A320neo incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 per cent in fuel savings from the first day of operations and 20 per cent by 2020.

Currently, the A320neo family of aircraft has got over 5,000 orders from 92 customers since its launch in 2010 capturing almost 60 per cent share of the market.

Till date over 70 A320neo have been delivered to 18 customers.