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Air India puts on hold leasing of 787-9 planes, says Boeing

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-07-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Air India has put on hold plans to lease Boeing 787-9 planes amid the government’s decision to divest stake in the airline, a senior official from the US aircraft maker said on Monday. Boeing also said it would honour commitment to Air India, which is expected to take delivery of six more planes from the aircraft maker this fiscal.

When asked about Air India’s plans to induct 787-9 aircraft, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Senior Vice President (Asia Pacific and India Sales) Dinesh Keskar said those are on hold now. Air India has put on “hold” plans to lease Boeing 787-9s because of government’s plans to sell stake in the carrier, he said here.

Earlier this year, the airline’s board had given its nod to induct seven Boeing 787-9s. Boeing 787-9 planes can accommodate up to 290 passengers. About delivery of other Boeing planes to Air India, Keskar said those commitments would be honoured. Earlier this month, Air India received its 24th Boeing 787 and is expecting deliveries of six more planes by the end of FY 2017.

The six comprises three each of 777 and 787. “Air India has an installed base of large number of Boeing aeroplanes and the order base that is already there will be executed. The entire order will be done by March 2018. Aeroplanes that Air India has, will need maintenance and we will support them,” Keskar said.

“Whatever is our commitment is our commitment. Anybody who takes AI will do better with it. So eventually they would want to expand and grow. AI has 44 wide bodies (which will be difficult to change),” he added. Wide bodies refer to wide-bodied aircraft.

Last month, the Cabinet gave its in-principle approval for Air India stake sale and pursuant to that, a group of ministers is looking into the final contours of such a process.

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