Thursday, June 08, 2017

AI fleet expansion plans run into privatisation headwinds

New Delhi: Air India's plans to expand its fleet have hit an air pocket, amid uncertainty after the government's top policy-making body, NITI Aayog, proposed the total privatisation of the national carrier to the PMO.
Decisions approved earlier by the airline's board regarding aircraft acquisitions are currently "on hold" and tenders for procurement of new planes have been deferred till clarity emerges, an airline source said.
In March, the Air India Board of Directors had approved a proposal to induct seven Boeing 787-9 aircraft in its fleet to improve connectivity to Canada, the US and Australia.
The airline was planning to float tenders for procuring these aircraft on lease this month. The decision has now been deferred.
"The decision (of floating tenders) is on hold until there is clarity on the airline's future," said a top Air India official when asked about the plan to acquire these planes.
Similarly, the plan to procure ten ATR aircraft by Alliance Air, which has been awarded several routes under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN, have been put on the backburner, the official said.
08/06/17 PTI/Times of India