Air India grounds 19 A320 family planes for lack of spares: ICPA


Mumbai: Debt-laden Air India has grounded as many as 19 aircraft, including nine Airbus A321, due to want of spares, resulting in a significant loss of revenue to the carrier besides flight cancellations, one of its pilots' body has alleged.

Besides, there are also aircraft fleet swaps which result in last minute change of inventory, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said in a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola on Sunday.

"Almost 23 per cent of the Air India fleet is grounded for lack of spares. To put this into perspective, aircraft worth approximately USD 3.6 billion or approximately Rs 25,000 crore (at todays list price) are lying idle in the hangars," the ICPA alleged.

While as many as eight Airbus A321 aircraft, of the total 20 such planes operated by Air India, are out of operations at various stations for lack of spares, four A319s are also on ground for one reason or the other, it said.

The A319 aircraft is the workhorse of the domestic network operating on high-density routes and has the maximum seating capacity, the ICPA said adding that "(due to the grounding of these planes) there is a significant revenue loss on a daily basis."

"The Airbus A319 fleet situation is only slightly better. Of the 22 Airbus A319 aircraft in the fleet, four aircraft or 18 per cent of the fleet is not available for operations. The Airbus A320 fleet fares better but only because it currently consists of a significant number of newly acquired Neo planes," it said.

Of the Boeing 777 fleet, five aircraft are in the hangar while two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, of the 26 in the fleet, are also on ground, the ICPA said.

"Additionally, a significant number of flights are getting cancelled/rescheduled on a daily basis. There are also aircraft fleet swaps which result in last minute change of inventory resulting in non-optimal revenue management and utilisation," the ICPA said in the letter.

Questioning the airline management as to why the aircraft were being allowed to remain on ground, the ICPA said, "All of this is having a significant impact on the bottom-line of Air India."