Air India announced on Friday that it has completed the acquisition of its first A350-900 aircraft through a finance lease transaction with HSBC via the GIFT City.
This is also the first wide body aircraft to be leased through the GIFT City, which is India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
In a statement, the airline mentioned that the transaction was facilitated by its wholly-owned subsidiary AI Fleet Services Ltd (AIFS) and is the first financing transaction from the orders for 470 aircraft that were placed earlier this year.
Tata Group-owned Air India, which is undergoing an ambitious transformation plan, expects the first A350-900 aircraft to arrive in India by the end of this year.
According to the statement, the airline has successfully acquired India’s first Airbus A350-900 aircraft through a finance lease transaction with HSBC.
“This landmark transaction marks the beginning of our aircraft leasing business from GIFT IFSC, as AIFS will be the primary Air India Group entity for wide body aircraft financing, playing a pivotal role in the future aircraft financing strategy for us and our subsidiaries,” said Nipun Aggarwal, Air India’s Chief Commercial & Transformation Officer.
Dipesh Shah, Executive Director of the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), mentioned that they have been working with stakeholders to develop regulatory enablers for aircraft leasing and financing.
“The steps taken by Air India by establishing a finance company for the purpose of aircraft leasing and financing at IFSC will go a long way in developing IFSC as a preferred destination for aircraft leasing and financing in India as well as globally,” he added.
The airline has ordered six A350-900 planes, with five of them scheduled for delivery through March 2024. In addition to these, Air India’s firm orders for 470 new aircraft include 34 A350-1000s, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777Xs, 140 A320 neos, 70 A321 neos, and 190 Boeing 737MAXs.
Air India signed purchase agreements to acquire these aircraft with Airbus and Boeing in June this year.
Currently, Air India has a fleet of 116 planes, including 49 wide body aircraft.
The total includes 27 B787-8s, 14 B777-300s, 8 B777-200LRs, 14 A319s, 36 A320 neos, 13 A321 ceos, and 4 A321 neos.
Meanwhile, Tata Group is in the process of consolidating its airline business, with AIX Connect being merged with Air India Express and Vistara being merged with Air India.
Vistara, a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines, holds a 49 percent stake in the carrier.
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