For its long-haul international flights, Air India relies on its fleet of Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners. Together, these two airplane types form the backbone of the carrier’s major international routes, and with more than 40 such planes in its fleet, Air India has not had to look elsewhere for quite some time when it comes to long-haul flying.
Air India had three 767s in its fleet in the mid-2000s. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt via Wikimeida Commons
However, there was a time in the mid-2000s when Air India experimented with short-term leasing of widebody airplanes to add capacity and maintain international routes. One of the aircraft to enter its fleet during this time was the Boeing 767-300ER.
Need for more planes
The mid-2000s were eventful years for Air India. It was in the process of merging with state-owned domestic carrier Indian Airlines and made news in 2006 following its massive order of 68 Boeing jets as part of its fleet renewal program.
However, this was also the time when Air India was in urgent need of widebody airplanes, as it was nearing the end of the lease terms for some of its planes. With the 777s still a couple of years away from delivery, Air India had to consider leasing widebodies as a stop-gap measure to maintain some of its routes and add capacity to meet passenger demands.
This is when the airline briefly introduced three Boeing 767-300ERs in its fleet.
The three 767s had a relatively short stint with Air India. Photo: Allen Watkin via Wikimedia Commons
You can’t be blamed for not remembering Air India’s 767s as they had a relatively short stint with the carrier. In all, three 767s entered Air India’s fleet. The first (G-CDPT) arrived in November 2006, wet-leased from former Scotland-based LCC Flyglobespan. The second (CS-TLQ) was leased from Portuguese carrier EuroAtlantic Airways and joined AI in February 2007. The third and the last 767 (G-CEFG) to join the Indian carrier was sourced from Flyglobespan again and joined the other two in May 2007.
The 767s remained in Air India’s fleet very briefly. In fact, CS-TLQ had a stint of just six months. The carrier had brought in these aircraft to mainly serve Southeast Asian destinations such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Air India’s 767s were eventually replaced by some of its first 777s and two leased A330 airplanes. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt via Wikimedia Commons
In October 2007, Air India received the first two of its 777s from Boeing, adding another two in 2008. In September and November of 2007, AI had also leased two A330s for its short-haul international routes. These airplanes ultimately replaced the 767s.
The 767s made as quiet an exit as possible, and by 2008, Air India had returned all three of the aircraft.
Where are they now?
G-CDPT was returned to Flyglobespan in March 2008 and was leased to several airlines over the next few years, including Garuda Indonesia, Gabon Airlines, and Air Austral. As of 2016, it’s part of the Icelandair fleet with the registration TF-ISO.
CS-TLQ returned to EuroAtlantic Airways in August 2007, following which it went to Chilean Air Force, where it has been serving since 2008.
The third and the last 767 to leave Air India was G-CEFG in September 2008. This one also enjoyed brief gigs with Luzair and Oman Air International before being coveted into a freighter in 2016. As of April 2017, it has been flying for Amazon Prime Air.
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