Air India keeping options ‘open’ for 5 wide-body aircraft
Eastern Eye Staff
The government-owned Air India is keeping all options “open” on the type of wide-body aircraft, which it plans to lease, including the latest jetliner from Airbus, A350.
The European aviation major Airbus is scheduled to a give a formal presentation to the national airline early next month in this regard, sources have said.
At present Air India has wide-body planes from the US aircraft maker Boeing Inc, while its narrow-body fleet consists of Airbus planes.
The airline used to operate wide body A330 till a few years ago. However, it phased them out after inducting Boeing 787-800s in the fleet.
The Air India Board has recently given approval to the airline to lease five wide-body planes in the fleet, which are to be inducted between January and March next year.
“We have not yet decided about the manufacturer. We are keeping all options open on this. Some time back, Airbus had given us an initial proposal for its newest jetliner A350. We are evaluating this as well,” a highly placed Air India official said.
Airbus is likely to give a detailed presentation on the performance of its wide-body products including A350 to Air India on March 8, the official said.
The official added that the airline would consider all parameters including fuel efficiency as well as lease rentals before choosing the type of aircraft.
As part of its domestic and international capacity augmentation plans, Air India is expected to induct 34 aircraft including five wide-body planes over the next two years.