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IndiGo And Air India Set Up Units To Finance Aviation Assets


  • Air India and IndiGo are diversifying their businesses by setting up leasing units in India.
  • Air India’s leasing firm, AI Fleet Services IFSC Limited, will finance the leasing of its six Airbus A350s.
  • IndiGo is also setting up a unit in IFSC Gift City. Both airlines aim to capitalize on the growing aviation sector in India.

Even as they compete for market share and passengers in India, IndiGo and Air India are diversifying their businesses by investing in leasing units in the country. Air India was the first to set up a unit in the Indian state of Gujarat last month, and now IndiGo is said to have followed suit.

Air India sets up a leasing unit

In August, it was reported that Air India had set up a leasing unit at IFSC Gift City in Gujarat. The airline, which is backed by the Tata Group, has several planes coming its way, and the first six of the many Airbus A350s on order will reportedly come through its leasing firm AI Fleet Services IFSC Limited under a financial lease.

Air India Airbus A320

Photo: WeChitra | Shutterstock

The firm will be a subsidiary of Air India and will have Vinod Hejmadi, the CFO of Air India, Kalpana Rao, the Company Secretary of Air India, and Abhijit Menon as part of its top management. According to businessline, Hejmadi and Menon will be directors at the firm, which is said to have an authorized capital of $6 million and a paid-up capital of $3.6 million.

According to the documents reviewed by businessline, AI Fleet Services IFSC Limited will only be involved in the leasing business for Air India and its subsidiaries. And while it will finance Air India’s six soon-to-be-delivered A350s, it remains to be seen if other aircraft from its huge 470-plane order go through a similar financing arrangement.

IndiGo diversifies, too

The country’s largest airline, IndiGo, is also contributing to developing an ecosystem of financing aviation assets in India by setting up a unit of its own at IFSC Gift City, a special economic zone. The unit will be finalized after getting all the necessary approvals.

IndiGo A320 landing

Photo: ANAND G IYER | Shutterstock

The company said that it will issue “corporate guarantees of up to $996 million (or an equivalent amount in Indian rupees or any other currency) to secure the payment obligations of the aforesaid wholly-owned subsidiaries.” The airline will make an investment of around $3.6 million in one or more tranches. Gaurav Negi, Chief Financial Officer of IndiGo, commented,

“The aviation sector is significantly growing in India and there is a necessity to develop the ecosystem around it. Financing of aviation assets like aircraft, engines are an important component. While most of these are being done through Dublin, the government has been taking efforts to build a financial leasing hub at GIFT city.”

The two giants

The developments come at a time when both IndiGo and the Tata Group airlines dominate the Indian aviation market. In July, their combined market share was almost 90%. Both Air India and IndiGo placed record-setting aircraft orders earlier this year, signaling their lofty ambitions for the coming years.

Air India planes seen at Mumbai airport

Photo: BoeingMan777 | Shutterstock

Air India has 470 airplanes on order from both Airbus and Boeing, while IndiGo will receive almost 1,000 aircraft from Airbus’ A320neo family over the next decade.

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With inputs from businessline


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