- Air India Express will soon receive its first batch of Boeing 737 MAX 8s, bringing upgrades to its low-cost medium-haul flights.
- At least 55 of these aircraft will be remarketed aircraft initially designated for Chinese carriers.
- The redesignated aircraft will undergo repainting and cabin reconfiguration in India, and the results will be eagerly awaited alongside the airline’s new livery design.
The low-cost medium-haul flights often operated by Air India Express will soon feel slightly more upgraded once the budget carrier receives its first batch of Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The suspenseful excitement continues to build for both the airline and its passengers after the first two of the new-generation narrowbodies are already prepared for initial deliveries.
Redesignated from China to India
Earlier this year, Air India finalized a historical and highly-anticipated aircraft order with Airbus for 250 aircraft and with Boeing for 220 aircraft. As part of the massive order, Air India ordered 20 Boeing 787-9s, 10 777-9s, 140 737 MAX 8s, and 50 737 MAX 10s from the US plane maker.
Concerning the narrowbody portion, they were meant for Air India’s low-cost subsidiary, Air India Express. While some speculated that the budget carrier would be getting fresh aircraft off Boeing’s production lines, it was confirmed last month that at least 55 Boeing 737 MAX 8s will be remarketed aircraft initially designated for Chinese carriers.
Despite the type being back in active service in the country, deliveries to Chinese carriers will only be resumed this month. However, they have been consistently receiving Airbus deliveries in previous months. That left Boeing with plenty of 737 MAX 8s in inventory, and after discussions and permissions from the Chinese carriers, the manufacturer was allowed to redesignate a small portion of the inventory to Air India Express.
Re-registered and on the way…
Considering Air India Express expects to receive at least 50 Boeing 737 MAXs by next year, deliveries of the first batch are likely to be soon, and recent sightings of these aircraft further confirm this theory. The first narrowbody bears the MSN 61639 and used to be registered B-20AK, as the four-year-old aircraft was initially bound for Shanghai Airlines.
Having been re-registered VT-BXA, the aircraft wears an Indian flag beside its new registration while still bearing the red and white colors of Shanghai Airlines. VT-BXA recently completed test flights and will soon fly over to India. The second narrowbody bears the MSN 61658 and has not been issued any official registration yet, although the aircraft wore the China Eastern Airlines livery.
Instead, the second aircraft carried its last test registration of N57002 and will likely be re-registered VT-BXD. Like VT-BXA, the aircraft recently completed test flights and is expected to join the Air India Express fleet soon.
Besides these two sighted Boeing 737 MAX 8s, the budget carrier can anticipate another eight planes to be prepared soon and delivered. These were originally allocated to Okay Airways, Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and China Eastern Yunnan Airlines.
The redesignated aircraft will undergo repainting and cabin reconfiguration in India. But given how Air India Express is yet to reveal its new livery design, the results of these Boeing 737 MAX 8s will be as well-awaited as the narrowbodies’ entry into service and the overall capacity boost given to the low-cost carrier to allow it to reach improved potentials.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Campbell Wilson