The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Air-India plans to take four planes on lease

Mumbai, July 12 (PTI): Air-India is planning to take on lease two Boeing 747-400s and two A310s by this year-end to meet its expansion plans.

“We are taking an additional Boeing 747-400 to make the aircraft from our fleet available for VVIP flights replacing the present 747-200,” civil aviation secretary and A-I chairman K. Roy Paul told newspersons here today.

“By getting two aircraft, we are ensuring that there is no impact on the flight schedule in case a 747-400 is used for VVIP flights,” he added. The airline has so far taken one 747-400 and nine A310s on lease.

With 747s, the airline is planning to expand its flights to the US with a daily service to Newark (as against five at present) and a possible service to Los Angeles via Frankfurt, public relations director Jitendra Bhargava said. The additional aircraft will help to meet the seven per cent growth targetted for this fiscal, he added.

Paul said the board will meet again within a month to decide on the Hathi Committee report for the acquisition of 10 long-range aircraft and 18 short-range jets.

Fleet acquisition plan

The civil aviation policy and the fleet acquisition plan for both Air-India and Indian Airlines is expected to be completed within the next couple of months.

“The ministry has already received views and comments on the policy ever since it has been placed on the website for discussions. We intend to freeze the policy now and set up a task force to present its report in one month,” Union civil aviation minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here today.

He said the policy would be to ensure level playing field for all, including the private sector players.

Asked whether the government would spell out foreign sector participation in the policy, Rudy said “I will not like to comment at this stage. I will only endeavour that the policy, which has been in the making for quite some time, will see the light of the day,” he added.

“My priority will be to increase the capacity of Indian Airlines and Air-India and make them competitive, privatise, modernise and develop Delhi and Mumbai airports as world class hubs and speed up the reform process in the aviation sector,” he added.

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