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Air Sahara plans to induct 12 planes

New Delhi, Feb. 10: In an apparent bid to take on its bigger rival Indian Airlines which plans to augment its fleet strength, Air Sahara today said it would induct 12 planes — seven 50-seater Canadian-built Bombardier and five 150-seater Boeing 737 series aircraft.

The new aircraft, the first of which will be inducted later this week, will be used to add routes. “Our first new flight using the new Bombardier aircraft will be a Delhi-Gorakhpur-Calcutta flight,” said U.K. Bose, Air Sahara chief executive.

“It’s an emotional thing for us...Sahara started off from Gorakhpur and Calcutta is like a second home for us.”

The airline also hopes to receive government approval to fly to Saarc countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh, Bose added. The government had indicated it may allow this last year.

Sahara’s move seems to have been hastened by news that the Indian government was finalising purchase of Airbus aircraft to revamp the ageing Indian Airlines fleet.

The seven 50-seater CRJ-200 Bombardier aircraft will be taken on a seven-year long term dry lease. The first of these aircraft is expected to arrive in the next two days. All of them will be inducted by April 2003,” the Air Sahara executive said.

He said the five 150-seater Boeing 737-700 and 800 aircraft would also be inducted into the fleet by December this year.

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