GoAir began its journey back in 2005 around the same time as IndiGo. GoAir, unlike IndiGo, lacked a strong management team, a consistent CEO (more than 6 CEOs flipped) and a proper strategy. They have since been doing just one job, existing, rather than growing. GoAir took the longest time to go international since it didn’t take any new aircraft deliveries, for a long time and was below the threshold of 20 aircraft for years.
Then, GoAir took rapid deliveries of many A320neo aircraft, and now has more A320neos (30) than A320ceos (17) in its fleet of 47 aircraft. It has a further 114 A320neo on order. But looks like they have lost the plot.
GoAir has been deferring A320neo deliveries
GoAir last took delivery of an A320neo on December 28, 2018. While Airbus is continuing with the production of GoAir A320neos, GoAir isn’t taking any new deliveries. All A320neos meant for GoAir are being sealed for long term storage. Some new A320neo aircraft have been transferred to Toulouse Francazal airport for long-term storage.
VT-WGU (MSN 8445) has been stored at Toulouse airport (TLS) since October 2018. VT-WJA (MSN 8583) performed the last test flight on February 7, 2019, and is stored at Toulouse since then. MSN 8757 is ready for test flights but is stored since January 2019. MSN 8785 adorns the GoAir livery but engines are left to be fitted. It is also taped for long term storage.
VT-WJG (MSN 8720) was transferred to Toulouse Francazal airport (LFBF) on February 12, 2019, but is back at Toulouse (TLS) on April 1, 2019, maybe for delivery. On the same day (April 1, 2019), VT-WJK (MSN 8850) was transferred to Toulouse Francazal airport (LFBF) for storage. VT-WJK will join VT-WJH (MSN 8736) which is stored at LFBF since February 8, 2019.
All in all, 5 A320neos (VT-WGU, VT-WJA/H/K and MSN 8757) are ready but are stored at the moment, 1 A320neo (VT-WJG) may be delivered soon and 1 A320neo (MSN 8785) is yet to be fitted with engines. A few A320neos out of the total 7 aircraft have been stored for around 3-5 months.
Reduced fleet utilisation
Talking about the current fleet of GoAir, they have grounded 9 A320ceo and 1 A320neo aircraft out of a fleet of 47 aircraft.
|Aircraft type||Aircraft Registration||Status||Airport Grounded At||Last Flight||Last Flight on||Notes|
|A320||VT-GOI||Grounded||Delhi||G8 148 IXR-DEL||April 6, 2019||Will be back on April 9, 2019 as G8 113 DEL-BLR|
|A320||VT-GOL||Grounded||Benguluru||DEL-BLR||January 3, 2019|
|A320||VT-GOM||Operational||Benguluru||G8-803 IXZ-BLR||February 24, 2019||Back on March 22, 2019 as G8 623 BLR-CNN|
|A320||VT-GOO||Grounded||Kannur||G8-622 BLR-CNN||April 5, 2019|
|A320||VT-GOS||Grounded||Delhi||G8-278 PNQ-DEL||February 22, 2019||Out from Feb 22-March 12, did 2 flights on March 12, then March 12 to March 20, did 3 flights from March 20 to 21, and then March 21 to April 5. Out since April 5, 2019.|
|A320||VT-GOT||Grounded||Kannur||G8-620 BOM-CCN||January 19, 2019|
|A320||VT-WAF||Grounded||Delhi||G8-329 BOM-DEL||February 22, 2019|
|A320||VT-WAG||Grounded||Kannur||G8-632 MAA-CNN||February 23, 2019||Out from February 23 to March 2, then March 26 to April 5, 2019 and now from April 5, 2019-|
|A320||VT-WAH||Operational||Delhi||G8-718 AMD-DEL||March 18, 2019||out from March 18 till March 25, did two flights March 25-26, out since March 26, back from April 5|
|A320||VT-WAK||Grounded||Delhi||G8-106 CCU-DEL||March 31, 2019|
|A320||VT-WAL||Grounded||Delhi||G8-116 BLR-DEL||February 13, 2019|
|A320neo||VT-WGC||Operational||Delhi||G8-285 GOI-DEL||January 25, 2019||Back on March 1, 2019 as G8 140 DEL-PAT|
|A320neo||VT-WGX||Grounded||Delhi||G8 148 IXR-DEL||January 29, 2019|
What’s keeping GoAir away from increasing aircraft utilisation?
In the summer 2019 DGCA schedule, GoAir hasn’t filed any new international flights. GoAir planned to add 10 cities to Phuket, but we have not seen any action after Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore. Clearly, GoAir has no pricing power on these routes, given they are in a fight with IndiGo. They haven’t even expanded to the Middle-East except for Kannur.
On the domestic front, I could notice some additional domestic routes filed. They were noticeably out of Kannur. GoAir plans to increase the daily departures to 16 up from the current 6 daily from this airport. Expansion from Surat (Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Chennai) has also been indicated in the summer schedule.
So is it pilot shortage even at GoAir? There were reports that GoAir hired over 50 Jet Airways’ pilots recently. So it could be that there was indeed a pilot shortage which led GoAir to ground some aircraft.
But it does have something to with a lack of strategy also. There hasn’t been a stable management team at GoAir for a long time. Several top-level executives have quit over differences with owners. They do know that they can’t compete with 6E head-on. Their network strategy, if they do have one, isn’t something to write home about. Unlike other no-frills carriers, except Air Asia India, GoAir hasn’t had a well laid out expansion plan.
There have been reports in the past about GoAir getting rid of their A320ceo fleet and have an all A320neo fleet. But we haven’t seen any action on that as well for the moment. Maybe it has something to do with the P&W engines. Let’s see what GoAir dishes out in the near future.
What are your thoughts about GoAir’s flight plans into the future? And what will eventually become out of them?