State-owned Air India plans to lease 15 more aircraft by 2012, in a bid to tide over the delay in delivery of new planes by Boeing Co., the airline's chief executive said on Monday.
“We have put out a notice with different aircraft leasing companies and manufacturers to see how many aircraft are available," said V. Thulasidas, Chairman and Managing Director of National Aviation Company of India, or Nacil. Nacil is the newly formed entity that operates Air India and Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) after the two were merged recently.
To bolster its fleet, Air India has placed a $11.4-billion order for 68 airplanes with Boeing, including 27 Dreamliner jets, the latest from the US aircraft maker's 787 series.
Boeing recently informed the Indian airline that delivery of the Dreamliners could be delayed by 9 months. As per the original schedule Air India were to receive the first delivery of the Dreamliner by the middle of 2008.
"Since Boeing has intimated us about the delays we will have to lease more aircraft to stay on our projected growth path,” Thulasidas said. “We do have capacity constraints. We have to look for alternatives now. Further delays have now created difficulties.”
Thulasidas was talking to reporters at a function held to announce the launch of Air India’s Delhi-New York direct flight starting February 8.
The introductory return fares for the flight start at Rs 30,700 excluding taxes.