Gujarat’s International Finance Tec-City (Gift City) has become a project of great national importance, given its industrial-friendly policies and pro-business atmosphere that are drawing entrepreneurs from all over the world.
As it’s said, the Gift City is a launch pad for organisations aspiring to expand operations across the Indian subcontinent.
Now, another development has added cubits to Gift City’s stature. According to a report, Air India has become the first scheduled national airline to acquire an aircraft — Airbus A350 — from an entity registered in the Gift City.
Air India had signed a contract to acquire these aircraft with Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Air Show in June 2023.
The report adds that the A350-900 is the first widebody aircraft to have been leased through India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) through a finance lease transaction with HSBC.
“This landmark transaction marks the beginning of our aircraft leasing business from Gift IFSC, as AIFS will be the primary Air India Group entity for widebody aircraft financing, playing a pivotal role in the future aircraft financing strategy for us and our subsidiaries.
“It is also a shot in the arm for the development of a robust aviation ecosystem in India. As a flag-bearer of the country, Air India is happy to support the government of India’s efforts to develop an aircraft leasing hub in Gift IFSC,” Nipun Aggarwal, AI’s chief commercial & transformation officer, was quoted as saying.
Dipesh Shah, IFSCA executive director said, “The government of India has taken several initiatives to develop the aircraft leasing ecosystem at IFSC in India. IFSCA has been working with the stakeholders to develop regulatory enablers for aircraft leasing and financing. The steps taken by Air India by establishing a finance company for the purpose of aircraft leasing and financing at IFSC will go a long way in developing IFSC as a preferred destination for aircraft leasing and financing in India as well as globally.”
The first of Air India’s six Airbus A350-900 should arrive in India towards the fall of this year, with the remainder aircraft scheduled for deliveries through March 2024.
Additionally, Air India’s firm orders for 470 new aircraft include 34 A350-1000, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 10 Boeing 777X widebody aircraft, as well as 140 Airbus A320neo, 70 Airbus A321neo and 190 Boeing 737MAX narrow body aircraft, the report mentioned.