Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int'l) is planning to add four additional B737s to its fleet of twenty-four B737-800s in response to the rapidly recovering demand, an inside source told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

"In the short-term, the airline might take four aircraft on dry lease to increase capacity for the interim period. These planes will only be used for increasing frequency and consolidation of the existing routes," the source said.

The source did not specify whether the aircraft would be B737-800s or another variant. The timeline for the induction is also unclear.

Air India Express operates domestic and short-haul international routes under its own code, despite being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l). The source indicated that Air India Express has a business plan to grow to 50 aircraft by 2025, adopted in 2018, but was subsequently thwarted as the government privatised its parent. Now, however, as Air India has returned to the private ownership of Tata Sons, Air India Express is poised to finally grow. The carrier sees the need to increase the fleet to recapture some of the market share lost to rapidly expanding low-cost carriers.

"The competition is growing every day, and we have to keep up with that," the source said.

Air India did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.