Air India Aircraft Retrofit Program To Begin In H2 2024

Sisira Dash, CTO at Air India speaking at MRO Asia in Singapore.

Credit: James Pozzi/Aviation Week

SINGAPORE--Air India will begin retrofitting its legacy widebody and Airbus A320neo aircraft next year as part of its fleet transformation strategy. 

The airline was privatized in 2022 and parent company Tata Group is in the process of consolidating its four airlines--Air India, Air India Express, Air Asia India and Vistara--into two (Air India and Air India Express).

The retrofit project will run from April 2024 through 2027, according to Sisira Dash, Air India's chief technical officer, speaking at Aviation Week’s MRO Asia in Singapore on Wednesday (Sep. 27). 

It will include the installation of new seats and updated inflight entertainment connectivity, along with newly added premium economy cabins. In addition, the project includes painting the aircraft with the new branding.

“By that time (2024), we expect the parts, seating and other required items to be available,” says Dash. “It’s not only the seats but the AV system and the connectivity--everything has to come together.” 

Dash did not disclose which partners or vendors the airline is working with.

The airline’s widebody fleet is comprised of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft. Air India is expecting its first Airbus A350 family aircraft delivery in late 2023 to add further widebody presence to its fleet. 

As of September, it operates 27 A320neo and four A321neo aircraft but has orders for more than 400 Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies.

The retrofit project spend, overseen by parent company TATA Group as part of efforts to establish Air India as a globally competitive airline, will be worth around $400 million.

 The carrier’s MRO arm AI Engineering Services has remained government owned but speculation is that the business will be privatized in the 2023-24 financial year.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.