B747s are no more registered as Indian Airlines’ fleet drops by 21 planes between January and April

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released the fleet details of Schedule / Scheduled commuter airlines on its website. The details are current as of April 15, 2022. The last update was in January 2022. 

There has been significant change in the Indian aviation landscape between January and April, with the most prominent being the TATA group taking over Air India and Air India Express! 

For long, every avgeek had just one question – what has happened to the B747s of Air India? The “Queen of the skies” was to be on the books of Alliance Air – which continues as a government entity. However, in February – there was an indication in the monthly report that the B747s are not part of Alliance Air as the ministry released a report on its website only talking about 18 ATR 72-600 aircraft for Alliance Air. The mystery is now resolved as the DGCA does not list the four B747s of Air India any more in the active fleet, an indication that they have been de-registered and won’t be flying again. 

Recently, those who have travelled from Mumbai have reported that at least one of those planes have been moved to the Air India hanger at a place where the earlier B747s were parted-out for scrap. In all probabilities, the others would meet the same fate. 

Fleet is down by 21 aircraft

The combined fleet is down to 670 aircraft from 691 for passenger operations. There was a reduction of seven aircraft for Air India (four B747s, three A321s), six each for IndiGo and SpiceJet, two for TruJet and one each for Go FIRST and AirAsia India. 

One aircraft each was added by Alliance Air (Do-228) and flybig (ATR 72). Thus 23 aircraft were de-registered, while two were registered.

Airbus – Boeing – Others

Boeing has total domination in the widebody segment in India. The country has only 45 widebody aircraft, amongst the 670 across major airlines. The Narrowbody fleet comprises 78.66% of total aircraft, while widebody is just 6.72%. Turboprops are 13.88% of the fleet, while regional jets are less than 1% with only one airline operating those.

Overall, Airbus has 66.41% of total fleet, with Boeing at 18.95% and the rest with others which includes ATR, De Havilland Canada, Embraer and HAL. All the airlines are heavily investing in fleet renewal with over 60% of the narrow body fleet already being the NEO or MAX.

Network Thoughts

With Akasa hoping to start soon, the numbers could start tilting towards Boeing slowly. All eyes will be on the order from the TATA group to see which way they swing. Everybody agrees that carriers in India need to dominate the long haul market and the time is now, but where are the planes?

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