Air India Express (AIE), the budget subsidiary of national carrier Air India, plans to acquire 14 additional aircraft from Boeing by 2017, an airline official says.

“Air India Express will acquire 14 Boeing 737-800 aircraft over [the] next four-five years,” Chief Operating Officer Ansbert D’souza says. The decision was made recently by India’s civil aviation ministry as part of the turnaround plan for Air India. The airline will soon decide whether “to go in for leasing or buy the aircraft,” D’souza adds.

The airline’s current fleet comprises 21 aircraft -- 17 owned and four leased.

Earlier this week, AIE introduced 27 additional flights to Middle East destinations. The number of flights from three airports in Kerala and one in Mangalore will rise to 119 per week from 92. The increase, which will go into effect with the carrier’s winter schedule -- Oct. 29 to the end of March -- will add about 3,800 seats in the sector.


737-800 photo: Boeing