Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Air India Goes Ahead With Delivery Plans

Aviation Daily Jan 20 , 2010 , p. 03
Neelam Mathews

Air India will receive the first of 27 Boeing 787s on order in the first quarter of 2011 (April). The first 787 will be delivered to ANA in the last quarter this year, confirmed Dinesh Keskar, Boeing India President.

Air India (AI) will receive about 15 787s by the end of 2012, according to an airline official who did not want to be identified. This figure was not confirmed by Boeing.

The Indian carrier plans to replace its eight leased A310-300s with the 787s, said an Air India spokesman.

Even as the carrier goes through major losses, Air India seems to be increasing its inventory of new aircraft steadily. According to Chairman Arvind Jadhav, the airline took deliveries of 29 aircraft in 2009 that enhanced fleet utilization and helped phase out 11 old aircraft.

By March 2010, three 777-200s, two Airbus A310s and eight A320s will be returned or retired from the fleet, said Jadhav. Earlier efforts to lease out its 777s proved fruitless when Royal Brunei Airlines leased three 777-300ERs from Jet Airways instead.

Of the 23 777s on order, AI has already taken delivery of all eight 200-LRs and five of the 15 777ERs; three will be delivered this year.

Meanwhile, Air India’s parent company, National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (NACIL), has a tender out for three 777-200LRs and three 777-300ERs — both of 2007 manufacture — on dry lease, either for short- or long-term duration.

The airline launched its scissors operations in March last year to and from North America with a new fleet of Boeing aircraft from its first international hub operation at Frankfurt.

The scissors operation has been under severe criticism by AI pilots, who say the company is being pennywise and pound foolish and not using its fleet adequately. For instance, at Frankfurt, a passenger flying from Delhi to Newark is transferred to the Mumbai-Newark flight and a person traveling to Chicago from Mumbai changes planes to get on the Delhi-Chicago airplane.

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