Air India in Sale, Leaseback Deal for 34 Engines

23 September – Air India has signed a sale and leaseback deal with US-based Willis Lease Finance Corp for 34 engines for 17 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, Willis Lease will purchase 34 CFM56-5B engines from Air India to power 13 Airbus A321 aircraft and 4 Airbus A320 aircraft and lease them back to the airline. Willis Lease will also provide backup and spare engines to Air India under the agreement.

“Willis Lease will provide spare and standby spare engines, allowing Air India to avoid potentially costly and unpredictable engine workshop visits powering a converting aircraft fleet. Willis Lease will also have an in-country team to coordinate the entire program and manage all of the logistics and transportation associated with it,” the airline said.

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Based in Florida, Willis Lease is a global aviation finance company specializing in the leasing, financing and management of aircraft, commercial aircraft spare engines and auxiliary power units.

The transaction will allow Air India to eliminate maintenance burden and fully relieve itself from the uncertainty of engine related maintenance costs and will enable the airline to unburden itself operationally, improve fleet reliability, reduce costs and to optimize cash flow. Mr. Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial Officer of Air India.

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Air India currently has 113 aircraft in its fleet of which 87 aircraft are in service. These include 54 narrow-body aircraft and 33 wide-body aircraft. The decommissioned 16 narrowbody aircraft and 10 widebody aircraft are expected to return to service in early 2023. The airline has also signed up to lease 21 Airbus A320neo, 4 Airbus A321neo and 5 Boeing B777-200LR. These aircraft will join the airline’s fleet starting in late 2022, increasing the airline’s fleet size by 25%.

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Air India has been on a transformation path since its acquisition by Tata Group in January 2022 as part of a government-led strategic divestiture programme. The airline recently announced that it aims to capture at least 30% of the domestic air transport market over a five-year period. Air India holds an 8.5% market share in the domestic air transport sector, according to August data from the Civil Aviation Authority’s Directorate-General for Civil Aviation.


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