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Air-India to mull report on Boeing, Airbus planes
March 26, 2003 18:17 IST
Air-India Ltd's board will discuss on April 3 whether the state-run long-haul carrier should place orders for 17 long-range aircraft from Boeing or Airbus, a spokesman for the airline said on Wednesday.
It will discuss a report of an internal committee that evaluated Boeing Co's 777-200ER and Airbus' A340-300, the two models in contention for Air-India's biggest expansion, which Boeing has estimated will cost $1.9 billion.
"Air-India's board is meeting on April 3 to consider the report of the committee on the purchase of the MCLR planes," Jitender Bhargava said on the phone from the company's headquarters in Mumbai.
MCLR or medium-capacity long-range planes can seat more than 250 people and fly non-stop for more than 10 hours from India to destinations in United States, West Europe and the Far East.
Air-India plans to place firm orders for 10 planes with an option to buy seven more. India's central government will have to approve the deal before the state-owned airline can place orders.
The planes are expected to be inducted into the airline's 30-aircraft fleet over five years starting from the new financial year beginning in April.
The new additions will help boost the airline's market share in terms of number of passengers carried in and out of the country to nearly 25 per cent from 18.4 per cent and allow it phase out six older Boeing 747-200 and 300s.
Air-India, which eked out its first annual profit in seven years in the past year to March, also plans to buy 18 small-capacity, short-range planes, for which it is evaluating the Boeing 737-900 and the Airbus A321.
These planes can seat 160 people and can fly to the Gulf and destinations in southeast Asia from India.
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