NEW DELHI, INDIA — India's loss-making carrier Air India is preparing to triple its current fleet of 113 aircraft over the next five years by transforming its business model. Indian conglomerate Tata Group took over control of the state-owned airline on January 2022.

According to a statement made by Chief Executive Campbell Wilson yesterday, the airline is in discussions with aircraft and engine manufacturers on procuring new aircraft.

"I wouldn't put a number on it because negotiations are still ongoing. We also have a view on the proportion of wide and narrowbody, and the increase is going to be a significant number of both," Wilson said.

Boeing is offering 737 MAX jets, once meant for Chinese customers, to Air India as the planemaker tries to offload some of the roughly 140 aircraft that couldn't be delivered due to Chinese regulator's ongoing restrictions.

Air India is considering ordering as many as 300 narrowbody aircraft to renew its fleet. The airline plans to receive 25 Airbus and five Boeing aircraft from lessors starting in December.

Air India expects to increase its domestic and international market share to 30% in five years, said Wilson, who was previously senior vice president of sales and marketing for Singapore Airlines. The first phase of the transformation will address issues such as on-time performance, food, and refunds that are "tarnishing" Air India's brand, he said. In the second phase, Air India will accelerate investment in people, systems, and equipment. Wilson said it would aspire to become a "world-class" airline toward the end of the five-year overhaul plan.

The airline has restored 17 grounded aircraft, and 12 are yet to return to service. It is in discussions with suppliers to refurbish existing widebody aircraft, which will require significant engineering work, he said.

Via Bloomberg