Air India is likely to seek more time from Boeing for taking a final call on the firm’s proposal offering it 11 single-aisle aircraft in lieu of three wide-body B777s, which were a part of a 68-aircraft order placed in January, 2006.
The airline has constituted a three-member panel to go into the pros and cons of the proposal, which has been pending for nearly four years, Air India sources said today.
Boeing had asked the airline to take a final decision on the long-pending proposal by this month.
Air India had initially planned to cancel the order for the three B777s following the downturn in aviation sector worldover in 2008 but had to deferred the deliveries as there was no “cancellation clause”, the sources said.
Later, the US aircraft maker offered Air India to convert this order into an order for 11 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
“Air India has sought an extension in the deadline as it wants the new chairman and managing director (CMD) to take a call on such an important issue,” one of the sources said.
Air India CMD Rohit Nandan has set up a committee of three functional directors to go into the proposal and submit the report in this regard, they said.
As part of its fleet expansion plan, the national carrier had in 2006 placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft: 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300ERs, eight B777-200LRs and 18 B-737- 800s. Of these, eight B777-200LRs, 21 Dreamliners and 18 B-737-800s have already been delivered.
Single-aisle aircraft Boeing 737 MAX has a maximum seating capacity of 180 passengers while Boeing 777-300ER has a seating capacity of 230 plus, the sources said.
In 2013, Air India sold its five Boeing 777-200LRs to Etihad for around USD 350 million.