Price deal with Airbus may be finalised soon: IA

Mumbai, Feb 26 | Updated: Feb 27 2005, 05:30am hrs
Indian Airlines is expected to conclude its price negotiations with Airbus in the next 10 days and the proposal would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) next month, according to civil aviation secretary Ajay Prasad.

We expect the negotiations with Airbus for 43 aircraft to be completed in 10 days time after which it would be placed before ccea. The orders are expected to be placed by march-April, prasad told newspersons on the sidelines of an aviation summit meet here on Saturday.

As part of its expansion plans, IA board had decided to go for 43 Airbus A319s, A320s and A320 aircraft.

He said a proposal to hive off engineering units of IA and Air-India as separate units were under consideration as international companies have evinced interest in setting up joint ventures in India.

Earlier, addressing the summit on the future of national carriers in a liberalised marketplace, Mr Prasad said opening of international routes to private airlines was to increase the market share by Indian carriers, which include Jet and Sahara.

The pie is large enough for everybody to share. Indian carriers only carry a small percentage of traffic hence there is ample scope for all to enter, he said.

On the synergy of operations between IA AND A-I, he said the two chairmen and managing directors have been asked to evolve a discussion paper which would be ready next month.

There are many common areas like airport lounges, ticketing, engineering, which could be pooled to build a strong airline, he added.

Mr Prasad said restrictions on international operations by private airlines, like minimum five years in the field and a fleet of 20 aircraft, have been imposed because credible operations were necessary to maintain integrity of schedule and services. As the status has been given to Jet and Sahara, they have also become flag bearers of India along with A-I and IA, he said.