Air India Group, which has embarked on ambitious expansion plans, is expected to take delivery of a new aircraft every six days on average till the end of 2024, according to a top official.
The group, comprising Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect and Vistara, is owned by the Tatas, which is also in the process of consolidating its airline business.
"Air India Group to take delivery of one new aircraft every six days on an average till the end of 2024," Air India Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Campbell Wilson said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a function here for the unveiling of Air India Express' new brand identity, Wilson also said that it is an exciting day for the group.
Tata Group took control of loss-making Air India in January 2022.
Earlier this year, Air India placed orders for 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing at USD 70 billion (based on published list prices). The deliveries of the new planes will start from November this year.
Air India Express is in the process of merging AirAsia India with itself while Vistara will be getting merged with Air India. Vistara is 51 per cent owned by Tatas, and the remaining 49 per cent is with Singapore Airlines.
According to Wilson, the merger of Air India Express and AIX Connect is close to completion.
"The difficult part of the merger has already been done...legal processes normally take 6-9 months. We are hoping it (merger) to be complete by March next year," Air India Express Managing Director Aloke Singh said.
He said Air India Express will operate pan India, the Asia region, Southeast Asia, Gulf, and the Middle East.
"And the big benefit that we have is that being a part of the Air India Group, we are able to integrate our network and provide cross feeds and gain from feeds... our network will feed for the Air India," he noted.
"The five-year plan that we have...the five-year target that we have...We are looking at doubling our market share on domestic India, and also doubling it in the short haul international," Singh said.
"If you look at it as a combined entity, it is 7-8 per cent domestic market share. It is about 11-12 per cent on international short haul. Once we scale up, and once we get our new feed into commercial operation, we are really looking at growing big time and...it is not about growth just for a couple of years. It is about growth long term," Singh said.
Air India Express on Wednesday unveiled its new brand identity and aircraft livery that mainly features the colours of orange and turquoise.
Meanwhile, Wilson said that market share is the consequence of capacity, and capacity is a consequence of factors like aircraft orders and deliveries.
"As we increase the fleet of Air India Express, the market share should go up but of course, that takes time and it will take time as deliveries come up," he added.