Air India Express looks to add 14 more 737-800s

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Air India is in the market for 14 more Boeing 737-800 aircraft for its low-cost unit Air India Express and additional regional aircraft for its Alliance Air subsidiary.

Low-cost carrier Air India Express will have 35 737-800s in the next four to five years, up from its current 21, says its parent's director of finance S Venkat. The additional 737s will be secured on operating leases, he adds.

"Air India Express has a fantastic market and we expect it to break even in the next financial year. We think that there is tremendous growth potential in the international low-cost market," he says. "We could also operate Air India Express in the domestic market. We have not made a decision yet, but 70% of the domestic market is in the low-cost business and it may make sense."

Air India could also secure around four aircraft for Alliance, which has a fleet of 11 aircraft and links Indian tier II and III cities. A tender will go out shortly and the airline will assess Bombardier jets and turboprop aircraft, as well as ATR turboprops.

Data from Flightglobal Pro shows that Alliance Air operates seven ATR 42-300 turboprops and three Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft.