Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Air India has disclosed to the media that it will be cancelling deliveries of 7 out 9 upcoming Boeing 777-300ERs and instead will only receive 2 Boeing 777-200LRs + 2 Boeing 777-300ERs during the next 12 months. The 2 B 77Ls being delivered are expected to be used to launch a new nonstop service to the U.S. West Coast from Delhi this winter where as the 2 B 77Ws will be used on FRA/North America and India-LHR bound flights.
This step seems to have been taken under immense domestic pressure stemming from a liquidity crisis + the airline's inability to pay its wages on time in June. Boeing though should do AI a favor and try its best to lease out these 7 B 77Ws to interested airlines looking to expand and modernize their fleet such as SV, TK, QR and EY. However, one feels that the AMD-FRA-AMD route flown on a daily basis by a B 773ER in the IATA Winter schedule with a termination in FRA is too large of an aircraft to be used on such a route unless AI can secure a code sharing pact with LH on this route which will allow LH to feed this flight with pax originating from points in USA which AI doesnt fly to that has traffic volume for AMD such as LAX, SFO, IAH, IAD, BOS, DFW and PHL. But even then, one wonders how AI will fill up even 40% of the business and first class seats on board this aircraft on a route that caters largely to VFR traffic.