LONDON – On November 18, it was revealed that the United Kingdom-based business, Skytech-AIC, has been selected to sell Air India’s remaining Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
Air India’s 747 Sale
Since taking on the Boeing 747 aircraft back in 1971, Air India has operated a total of 31 of the aircraft type. However, this is, of course, split over three different variants.
Those variants are the Boeing 747-200, Boeing 747-300, and Boeing 747-400.
Their first Boeing 747 was a 200 variant that had a configuration of 16 first-class seats, 40 business-class seats, and 338 economy-class seats.
The aircraft was registered as VT-EBD, which was delivered to Air India in March 1971 and was named Emperor Ashoka, after Ashoka the Great, who was the third emperor of the Maurya Empire between 268 to 232 BCE. Air India once operated a total of 14 Boeing 747-200’s.
Unfortunately, just less than seven years later, this particular airframe was written off after crashing three kilometers after departure during the night from Mumbai as flight AI855 to Dubai.
It was ruled that two factors were the primary cause of the crash, with a malfunctioning Attitude Director Indicator (ADI) that led the captain to believe his plane was in the right bank when actually the aircraft was banking harshly left and continued to roll left with the captain’s control column inputs, that eventually caused the aircraft to enter a steep descent and crash into 10 meters of shallow water in the Arabian Sea just off the coast of Mumbai.
Air India then went on to operate just three Boeing 747-300s, one of which was leased and operated for Air India by the Icelandic carrier, Air Atlanta Icelandic.
The other two frames were operated by Air India and had a configuration of 16 first-class seats, 40 business-class seats, and 227 economy-class seats.
These two aircraft were also classed as combi, which enabled Air India to easily convert them for cargo use. Both of these aircraft were retired from the Air India fleet in 2008.
Finally, Air India operated a total of 14 Boeing 747-400’s which was their final variant, before getting to the stage now where they are selling their final Boeing 747-400 aircraft to fully conclude Air India’s operation of the Boeing 747.
Air India heavily operated the Boeing 747 for 40 years on many services, be it long haul international services, domestic short to medium haul services, as well as governmental charter services too.
The carrier now only has four Boeing 747-400’s left in its fleet, all of which have been stored in Mumbai for the past one to two years and registered as VT-ESO, VT-ESP, VT-EVA, and VT-EVB, which have all been handed over to Skytech-AIC to be outright sold.
Commenting on the appointment, Skytech-AIC’s Managing Director, Julian Balaam, has said, “We are honored to have been selected by India’s flag carrier, Air India, for this important assignment and are delighted to welcome them as a remarketing client alongside similarly leading airlines such as Singapore Airlines Group, Kuwait Airways, Air Greenland and Europe’s TUI Group.”
It is sad to finally see Air India retiring their Boeing 747 after it being such a work-horse for them for the past 40 years.
However, it is certainly onto pastures new for the carrier as they are currently in the process of revamping their fleet, aiming to reinvigorate a new Air India.