Air India has approached the State Bank of India to lease five Boeing 777 aircraft owned by now-defunct Jet Airways. The irony, though, is that Air India cannot even afford to keep its own (relatively young) 777s flying!
As Jet Airways continues to explore ways to save itself and resume flying, it is looking into leasing out five of its 777s in order to raise capital. Air India is interested, even though the airline has four of its own 777s that are currently grounded.
Indeed, 19 planes in the Air India fleet have been grounded due to a shortage of parts (read: money). When asked about this by the Indian Express, an Air India official confirmed the dilemma:
There are 19 aircraft grounded and these include Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 747 and Airbus A320s. Some of these aircraft are expected to be back in service by August.
It’s a sad state of affairs for Air India, not just for Jet. The cash-strapped, perennial-loss leader has made a practice of ripping parts of new aircraft in order to service older aircraft. An official with Air India Engineering Services Ltd, (Air India’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul [MRO] subsidiary) added:
We do not have funds to acquire parts for these planes, so we are taking them from newly delivered planes.
We’re talking mostly small things, like microphones…not that it makes the situation any less pathetic…
With Air India currently the last Indian intercontinental airline standing, it’s no surprise it wants to take advantage of Jet while it is down. Still, it seems like the blind leading the blind…
Image: Bill Abbott / Flickr CC 2.0