Budget airline Air India Express is looking to lease two Boeing 737 aircraft from full-service carrier Vistara to offer more flights during the winter schedule, according to a source.
Both Air India Express and Vistara are part of the Tata group, which also has Air India and AirAsia India under its wings.
The source close to the development said the two narrow-body planes are expected to be inducted into the Air India Express fleet on a short-term lease in November and December, respectively.
The move is part of consolidating as well as tapping the synergies in the group's airline business. Also, the leasing of the planes will help Air India Express to operate more flights during the winter schedule, which starts from October 30, the source said.
When contacted, a Vistara spokesperson said, "we cannot comment on speculations".
Air India Express spokesperson was not available for comments.
"Air India Express has not inducted any new planes in its fleet for a long time. Though the airline had plans to augment the fleet substantially as part of its long-term business roadmap, it got grounded because of the disinvestment.
"Now post-privatisation, there are plans to consolidate and bring synergy in operations. Therefore, the airline has decided to lease planes from within the group carriers rather than going to external players," the source said.
Tata group took over Air India and Air India Express in January this year after emerging as the winning bidder in the disinvestment process that concluded last year.
Air India Express, which flies to 14 international destinations from 21 cities in the country, currently has 24 Boeing 737 planes in operation. One of its plane was involved in the fatal crash at Kozhikode airport in Kerala in 2020.
Vistara, which is jointly owned by the Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has five Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet of 53 planes.
These five planes are part of the nine B737 aircraft inducted by Vistara on a short-term lease. These planes were earlier operated by Jet Airways, which shuttered operations in April 2019.
Four such planes have already been phased out by Vistara.
As part of the consolidation exercise, Vistara is also inducting A320 fleet pilots on deputation from AirAsia India for its new A320 neo planes, which are being delivered to the airline from its aircraft order of July 2018.