National carrier Air India (AI) will aggressively revamp its fleet and add new planes, even as it takes on private airlines for a larger pie of the domestic sky. Sources said the airline plans to take 15 brand new Airbus A320s on lease next year as the emphasis shifts to providing a better product and service to passengers under the new CMD Ashwani Lohani. AI had a domestic share of 16.6% in August. The market was led by IndiGo with 35.3%. “We plan to aggressively expand our operations and for that we are looking at adding new planes,” said a senior AI official. AI has added to its fleet four Airbus A320 ceo (current engine option) aircraft this year with one more to come. The airline board recently approved leasing of 14 fuel-efficient Airbus A320 neo (neo engine option) planes from a Kuwaiti lessor. These planes would come between April 2017 and March 2018 and be leased for a ten-year period. “A clean and new fleet of planes is definitely more appealing to the travelling public and is a strategy successfully adopted by many private airlines. AI will be doing the right thing by adding more planes,” said aviation expert Rajji Rai. While IndiGo has more than 400 planes on order, Ajay Singh-led SpiceJet will add six new planes to its fleet in the next 30 days.
HERO MOTOCORP NET UP MARGINALLY TO INR 772 CR
India’s largest two wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp today reported a marginal 1.13% rise in standalone net profit at INR 772.06 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, as slowdown in rural markets affected motorcycle sales. The company had a net profit of INR 763.37 crore during the same period of the previous fiscal. Net sales, however, declined by 1.72% to INR 6,745.11 crore compared with INR 6,863.50 crore during the same period of the previous fiscal, Hero MotoCorp said in a regulatory filing. The company sold 15,74,861 two-wheelers during the second quarter, down 6.95% from 16,92,523 units a year ago. Hero MotoCorp CMD and CEO Pawan Munjal termed the quarter as historic as the company crossed several milestones. “We unveiled two new scooters, Maestro Edge and Duet, the first products designed and developed by our in-house R&D team at Hero — a testimony to our commitment to produce world-class products in India for the world,” Munjal said. “Our global expansion efforts also received a major boost with the inauguration of our first overseas manufacturing facility at Colombia, which is also the first two-wheeler plant in South America by an Indian company.”
TOYOTA RECALLS 6.5 M CARS GLOBALLY
World major Toyota has recalled 6.5 million cars made by it for fixing a snag. Models include the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and RAV4 sport utility vehicles produced between 2005 and 2010. in India, a spokesperson for Toyota Kirloskar Motor said it was still unclear if cars sold in India would be affected by the global recall, and was awaiting an official communication from Japan. In recent months, Toyota has recalled nearly 10 million vehicles outfitted with defective air bags that have been linked to several deaths globally. A driver’s side power window master switch could short circuit and cause parts to overheat and melt, Toyota said in an email. “A melting switch may produce smoking and, potentially, lead to a fire,” it added. About 2.7 million affected vehicles were sold in North America and 1.2 million in Europe, it added. Toyota said it had not received reports of accidents tied to the defect, but one customer may have suffered a burn on their hand. Toyota has been working to regain its reputation for safety after the recall of millions of cars globally for various problems, including the airbag issues at embattled supplier Takata.