Air India, India’s leading global airline, has successfully acquired India’s first Airbus A350-900 aircraft through a finance lease transaction with HSBC. This is Air India’s first financing transaction from its record-setting orders for 470 aircraft.
The transaction makes Air India the first scheduled carrier to have acquired an aircraft from an entity registered in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City). Air India’s first A350-900 is also the first widebody aircraft to have been leased through India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
The transaction was facilitated by AI Fleet Services Limited (AIFS), a 100% subsidiary of Air India, and a GIFT IFSC-registered finance company
“This landmark transaction marks the beginning of our aircraft leasing business from GIFT IFSC, as AIFS will be the primary Air India Group entity for widebody aircraft financing, playing a pivotal role in the future aircraft financing strategy for us and our subsidiaries. It is also a shot in the arm for the development of a robust aviation ecosystem in India. As a flag-bearer of the country, Air India is happy to support the Government of India’s efforts to develop an aircraft leasing hub in GIFT IFSC,” said Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial & Transformation Officer, Air India.
“Govt. of India has taken several initiatives to develop the aircraft leasing ecosystem at IFSC in India. IFSCA has been working with the stakeholders to develop regulatory enablers for aircraft leasing and financing. The steps taken by Air India by establishing a finance company for the purpose of aircraft leasing and financing at IFSC will go long way in developing IFSC as a preferred destination for aircraft leasing and financing in India as well as globally," mentioned Dr. Dipesh Shah, Executive Director, IFSCA.
The first of Air India’s six Airbus A350-900 is expected to arrive in India by the end of this year, with the remainder aircraft scheduled for deliveries through March 2024. In addition to the six Airbus A350-900 aircraft, Air India’s firm orders for 470 new aircraft include 34 A350-1000, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777X widebody aircraft, as well as 140 Airbus A320neo, 70 Airbus A321neo and 190 Boeing 737MAX narrowbody aircraft.
Air India had signed purchase agreements to acquire these aircraft with Airbus and Boeing on the sidelines of Paris Air Show held in June 2023.
About Air India:
Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India pioneered India’s aviation sector. Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has built an extensive domestic network with non-stop flights to cities around the world, across the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far East, South-East Asia, Australia, and the Gulf. After 69 years as a government-owned enterprise, Air India and Air India Express were welcomed back into the Tata group in January 2022.
Air India is navigating through a major five-year transformation roadmap under the aegis of Vihaan.AI, with an ambition to become a world class airline with an Indian heart. The first phase of this transformation, the taxi phase was recently concluded, and focused on fixing the basics. These included bringing back to service many long grounded aircraft, addition of talent across flying and ground functions, rapid upgradation of technology and strengthening of customer care initiatives amongst others.
A member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium of leading international airlines, Air India offers seamless connectivity and facilities to passengers all over the world.