India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has given local airlines the green light to temporarily expand their fleet capacity with wide-body passenger aircraft on a wet lease basis for up to a year.
Previously, Indian air carriers have only been permitted to sign wet lease contracts for wide-body planes for six months. However, the government plans to make India a key international hub in terms of air traffic over the coming years and has relaxed the rules, Outlook India noted in a report published on November 28, 2022.
However, the update is only applicable for local airlines willing to operate wet-leased aircraft on routes between India, the United States, and European countries.
In order to extend the duration of their wet lease contracts for 12 months, airlines must make a specific request to the ministry. The aviation ministry anticipates that, with the expansion of the wide-body plane fleet, Indian carriers will be able to fly a significantly larger number of international travelers.
Wet lease agreements provide an airline with everything it needs to tackle capacity constraints, including aircraft and crew members as well as plane maintenance and insurance services. Some Indian airlines have already expressed their interest in including wide-body planes on a prolonged wet lease agreement with a lessor for during the winter season.
For instance, Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo, which signed a wet lease contract with Turkish Airlines for three Boeing 777-300ERs in October 2022, is now considering extending the deal for an additional six months. Meanwhile, India’s flag carrier Air India is yet to sign any wet lease contracts but is considering placing a temporary wet lease deal before it buys wide-body planes.