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A-I defers decision on plane purchase

Last updated on: July 11, 2003 18:22 IST

Air-India board, which met in Mumbai on Friday, deferred a decision on acquisition of short capacity, short range or SCSR aircraft, according to an A-I spokesperson.

The board discussed a report of a 6-member in-house committee chaired by director (operations) Capt M K Hathi on the acquisition of 17 short-range 150-seater aircraft, he told reporters.

It would be taken up for discussion at the next board meeting, for which the date was yet to be fixed, he said.

Both, Boeing and Airbus are in the race for the more than $2.5 billion order of 28 aircraft spread over a five-year period beginning this fiscal.

Boeing has offered its 777-200 ER (extended range) and 737-800 (short range) while Airbus has put forward its bid
with A340s and A320s.

According to AI sources, the committee was in favour of Boeing for the short range aircraft due to its better financial offer, more cargo revenue and slightly increased seating capacity in a two class layout.

The board also approved the budget for 2003-04, the spokesperson added.

A-I, which now has a fleet of 30 planes plans to place firm orders for 10 planes with an option to buy another seven.

The expansion is seen to increase the airline's market share to nearly 25 per cent from the current 18.4 per cent.

The planes are expected to be inducted over five years starting from the fiscal year beginning in April.

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