New Delhi: Air India said on Friday that it has successfully acquired India’s first A350-900 aircraft through a finance lease transaction with HSBC. It is the airline’s first financing transaction from its record-setting orders for 470 aircraft. Air India’s first A350-900 is also the first widebody aircraft to have been leased through the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT city), India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
The transaction was facilitated by AI Fleet Services Limited (AIFS), a 100 percent subsidiary of Air India, and a GIFT IFSC-registered finance company, the statement added.
"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 wide-body aircraft financing, playing a pivotal role in the future aircraft financing strategy for us and our subsidiaries," Air India's Chief Commercial & Transformation officer Nipun Aggarwal said in the statement.
Dipesh Shah, executive director, IFSCA, said "It 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 a long way in developing IFSC as a preferred destination for aircraft leasing and financing in India as well as globally," Shah added.
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, the airline's orders for 470 new aircraft include 34 A350-1000s, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777Xs, 140 Airbus A320 neo, 70 Airbus A321 neo and 190 Boeing 737MAXs narrowbody aircraft.
Air India had signed purchase agreements to acquire these aircraft with Airbus and Boeing in June this year.
Currently, Air India has a fleet of 116 planes, including 49 wide-body aircraft, the company informed.