Home / Companies / News /  Govt favours more wide-body planes, aims to cut transit time

NEW DELHI : The government has held discussions with Indian airlines on exploring wide-body aircraft operations to build India as a global aviation hub, people aware of the development said. According to the discussions, the civil aviation ministry has asked low-fare airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet to explore the possibility of inducting wide-body aircraft into their fleet and has also asked full-service airlines such as Vistara and Air India to explore strengthening their wide-body aircraft fleet, the people cited above said. 

Currently, India is largely a narrow-body aircraft market, with popular jets in action being Airbus A320 or a Boeing B737. 

These aeroplanes typically offer a seating capacity of 180-200 passengers, whereas a wide-body aircraft can seat more than 300 passengers. A wide-body typically offers a better customer experience and can also operate direct long-haul flights, whereas a narrow-body aircraft generally offers no-frills service and is ideal for short-to-medium-haul flights. 

In India, narrow-body aircraft currently account for 82.5% of the current fleet of major commercial Indian airlines, whereas wide-body aircraft are at 7%. 

According to Flightradar, SpiceJet currently has 80 aircraft in its fleet, including 48 narrow-body aircraft and 32 regional turboprop planes. IndiGo’s fleet stood at 246 narrow-body planes and 35 regional turboprop jets as of June 2022. Air India currently has 113 aircraft in its fleet, including 70 narrow-body planes and 43 wide-body aircraft. Vistara’s current fleet includes 57 aeroplanes, including three wide-body aircraft and 54 narrow-body planes. 

As part of the strategy to make India a competitive global hub, such as Dubai and Singapore, the government has also planned measures to reduce the transit time in India.

“Globally, if you look at two international connections, the time between those two flights is around 1.5-2 hours. Similarly, the time between a domestic and international flight is around 60 minutes. In India, such connectivity is often 3-4 hours apart. That is not attractive for a passenger in today’s world," one of the people cited above said.

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