Wings India Airshow 2024 is all set to start today. From January 18 to 21, it will be held at Hyderabad Begumpet Airport. This annual event comes with a lot of enthusiasm for all aviation geeks. Planemakers as well as airlines will showcase their aircraft at the airshow. In this article, we will see that as an aviation enthusiast, what can we expect from this airshow?
Aircraft on Display
A lot of aircraft are going to be on static as well as flying display at the Wings India Airshow 2024. However, the major eye-catchers are going to be the following:
Air India Airbus A350
The first Airbus A350 was delivered to the airline on December 23, 2023. Since then, the airline has been operating test flights for certification by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The aircraft will be showcased by Air India at the event. Although the aircraft does not feature the modern Air India interiors, it adorns the new Air India livery, a blend of Maharaja red and Vistara aubergine color.
Largest Twin Engine Jet: Boeing 777X
In February 2023, Air India announced an order of 10 Boeing 777X aircraft. In July 2023 during the Paris Airshow, it confirmed the order along with 10 purchase rights. Being the official customer of the aircraft type, the Boeing 777X prototype aircraft also bears the Air India new logo. Boeing has decided to send one of the prototype B777-9 jets to Wings India Airshow 2024.
On 16 January, the aircraft registered as N779XW landed at Hyderabad Begumpet Airport. This marked as a history in Indian Aviation as this was the first time a B777X landed in India. The aircraft will be on static display for 2 days – January 18 and 19. After this, it will leave.
Air India Express B737 MAX
Along with Air India, its Low-Cost Arm Air India Express also revealed its new identity in 2023. A Boeing 737 MAX 8 of Air India Express was expected to be showcased at the Dubai Airshow held recently. However, the airline decided to not send its aircraft for display. Hence, it will be displaying the new livery at Wings India 2024.
A Boeing 737 MAX 8 registered as VT-BXH has already landed at Hyderabad Begumpet Airport. Air India Express paints every Boeing 737 MAX with a separate tail art. This aircraft – VT-BXH bears the Kalamkari tail design.
Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX 8
Surprisingly, Akasa Air has also sent one of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for display. Akasa Air displayed one of its B737 MAX last year as well. The aircraft bears registration: VT-YAU. It was delivered to Akasa Air on 29th December 2023.
The aircraft was formerly destined for Russian Ural Airlines. It is a 2.9-year-old airframe and it conducted its first-ever test flight on 17 February 2021.
Chances of Any Order?
One Indian airline, that seems all set to place an aircraft order in Wings India is Akasa Air. Recently, Aditi Shah of Reuters reported that the airline will be ordering as many as 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at this airshow event. The airline earlier placed an order of 72 Boeing 737 MAX at Dubai Airshow in October 2021. In July 2023, it extended it by ordering four more Boeing 737 MAX.
Currently, the airline has 52 more aircraft in its order book, which will be delivered by 2027. So, for deliveries beyond this period, it will have to proactively claim delivery slots.
Talking about regional airlines, there is a chance that FlyBig may come out with something unexpected. Vman Aviation has seized its ATR 72s from FlyBig and the airline is in search of a lessor to lease large aircraft like the Airbus or ATR 72. If the search is over, the airline can reveal it in the upcoming event.
Another startup airline – Fly91 has already signed a leasing agreement with Dubai Aerospace Capital for the induction of two ATR 72 jets. These ATR aircraft are former FlyBig airframes.
IndiGo Widebody Order?
There is another question. Will the Big Blue announce anything? IndiGo had plans to acquire widebody aircraft in 2023. There were rumors that the airline would go for 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft order at the Paris Airshow in 2023. When Jagriti Chandra, a brilliant journalist from The Hindu, asked Pieter Elbers about the widebody order during the Paris Airshow, he replied with ‘Tomorrow’. This indicates that the airline had plans to opt for widebody aircraft.
Without a doubt, the airline has long-haul ambitions. IndiGo Chief has made it clear that the airline’s next phase in terms of operations is internationalization. It wants to increase its presence in the long-haul market. IndiGo expects delivery of Airbus A321XLR in 2024-25. With this aircraft, the airline is planning to fly to long-haul destinations like Athens, Rome, and Shanghai.
It will be interesting to see whether IndiGo goes ahead with the widebody order or not.