Published on December 25, 2023
Air India adding the Airbus A350 to its fleet is a big deal for India’s aviation scene. The A350 is all about upgrading long-distance travel and shows Air India’s commitment to keeping up with the times. The A350-900, which can fly non-stop for approximately 16-17 hours, covering 15,400 km, brings a new level of efficiency and comfort for its customers. With three classes - Business, Premium Economy, and Economy - it can carry 316 passengers. Considering Air India’s previous issues with broken seats and outdated amenities, it’s a major upgrade and cannot charge top dollar for its services. This move puts Air India on the global stage and sets a new standard for the airline industry.
Air India’s choice for the Airbus A350 is a strategic move. Being the first Indian airline to operate this advanced wide-body aircraft gives Air India a leg up in long-haul travel. The A350’s fuel efficiency, top-notch technology, and seating capacity mean better operations and cost savings. Ordering 20 A350-900s with plans for more A350-1000 variants shows a phased deployment strategy, starting with domestic routes before expanding internationally. It’s a smart approach to get the crew accustomed and operations streamlined.
The impact of the Airbus A350 joining Air India’s fleet is significant for the country’s aviation scene. The order for 40 A350s, a mix of A350-1000s and A350-900s, is a clear plan to up the game in long-haul flights. The initial delivery of the A350-900, with more coming by March 2024, marks the beginning of this strategic move. The decision to repurpose the first six A350s from Russian airline Aeroflot’s delivery schedule shows a practical approach to fleet management. With the commercial launch set for January 2024, Air India is said to be gearing up for a major shift.
Comparing the Airbus A350 with its competition, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, each has its strengths. The Dreamliner is known for its market presence and fuel efficiency, providing a comfortable experience. However, the A350-900 surpasses competitors like the Boeing 787-10 in length, passenger capacity (around 300-350), and range (over 15,000 km). The A350 excels in fuel efficiency, burning 25% less fuel, making it perfect for ultra-long-haul routes. Its spacious cabin and advanced features are gaining popularity, even though its market share is still growing.
IndiGo has a different game plan. With a vast network covering 85 domestic and 32 international destinations, IndiGo is rapidly expanding and partnering with global airlines. Notably, neither Air India nor IndiGo overlap in their networks. IndiGo focuses on frequency and cost-effectiveness, especially in the short-haul sector where narrow-body aircraft shine. With plans for weekly fleet expansion, their closest competition to the A350 is the A321XLR, expected by the end of FY24 or early FY25.