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Air India plans $400-m cabin upgrade

This refurbishment will see the addition of ‘latest generation seats and best in-class inflight entertainment’, the airline said in a media release. The company, however, did not specify the source of the funding.

Air India plans $400-m cabin upgrade
This lengthy but necessary process, and the time required to manufacture the seats, is expected to lead to the first aircraft entering service in mid-2024, Air India added.

Tata Group-owned Air India will give a full makeover to the cabin interiors of more than a third of its fleet starting with the long-haul Boeing planes, committing a spend of $400 million.

This refurbishment will see the addition of ‘latest generation seats and best in-class inflight entertainment’, the airline said in a media release. The company, however, did not specify the source of the funding.

The overhaul exercise will also see the introduction of a premium economy cabin on the B787-8 and the B777. Air India never had premium economy but offered first, business and economy classes. Vistara, which is set to merge into Air India, offers premium economy.

Air India has engaged London-based product design companies JPA Design and TrendWorks to assist with the cabin interior design elements under this refurbishment programme. The two have produced design works for Taj Hotels and the Orient Express.

Also Read: Air India hikes aircraft lease tally by 6, taking total to 36

The complete interior refurbishment entails regulatory and engineering preparation, which commenced earlier this year. This lengthy but necessary process, and the time required to manufacture the seats, is expected to lead to the first aircraft entering service in mid-2024, Air India added.

Campbell Wilson, MD and CEO, Air India, said: “We know that, at present, the cabin product on our 40 legacy widebody aircraft falls short of this standard. We are working closely with partners to accelerate the refit process as fast as possible. In the meantime, we are leasing at least 11 new widebody aircraft with brand new interiors to improve our offering.”

Earlier this week, Air India said it will lease an additional six Boeing 777-300ERs as part of its expansion plans. It had earlier announced to take 30 aircraft on lease. These planes will be used for plying on the India-US and India-Europe routes.

Last month, the former flag carrier issued new guidelines on grooming for its male and female cabin crew, including barring them from sporting religious threads on wrist, neck and ankle. The airline also told the crew to avoid having grey hair but a fully bald look will be allowed. 

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First published on: 09-12-2022 at 06:30 IST