Air India to lease 14 Airbus A-320s to strengthen domestic network

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 25 2014, 03:12am hrs
Air IndiaAir India would lease 14 Airbus A-320s for up to six years in a phased manner from the current financial year. Reuters
Aiming to strengthen its domestic route network, Air India would lease 14 Airbus A-320s for up to six years in a phased manner from the current financial year.

The national carrier today re-issued a tender for leasing these planes which should not be more than six years old. The tender document said the quotations should be sent by May 29 when the technical bids would be opened.

These airplanes were being acquired in an all-economy configuration with 188 seats, in a bid to combat heightened competition on domestic routes.

The tender was issued again as the airline was not able to get the requisite number of new aircraft for delivery next year, Air India officials said.

As per the tender, the selected lessors should be able to supply on dry-lease up to three of these planes in 2014-15, up to five till 2015-16 and six till 2016-17.

Air India (erstwhile Indian Airlines) was one of the launch operators of the A-320 aircraft and had purchased 31 of them between 1989 to 1993. Again between 2006 and 2010, the airline bought 43 A-320 family aircraft that includes A-319s and A-321s.

Air India was also reconfiguring its A-321 aircraft to reduce Business Class seats from 20 to 12 and increase Economy seating, the officials said, adding that four A-320s and six A-321s have already been reconfigured.

Expecting deliveries of five more Dreamliners between May and November, the national carrier is raising a bridge loan of USD 500 million to finance the purchase of four of these aircraft and use them to launch flights to new destinations like Moscow, Rome and Milan.

Air India was awaiting certain approvals for the launch of these flights planned for later this year.

The national carrier, which has already inducted 13 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, expects deliveries of two more such planes in May, while another three of the total 27 ordered are slated to be delivered by the US manufacturer Boeing in June, August and November.