AI plans to lease 10-15 aircraft this year

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (UNI) Air India plans to lease 10-15 aircraft this year to replace ageing planes and fill the gap caused by the delays in the delivery of Boeing's new Dreamliner, it was announced today.

''We are looking at 10-15 aircraft, if we can get it,'' Air India CMD V Thulasidas told a press conference here.

''We will go for dry lease of brandnew aircraft or close to that,'' he said.

Air India, which has a fleet of 140 aircraft, has placed orders for 111 aircraft with Boeing and Airbus to be delivered up to 2011.

The airlines had hope to receive four Dreamliner 787s in 2008 and an equal number in the first half of 2009.

Mr Thulasidas said Air India had to phase out 14 aircraft, which it had delayed doing due to a shortage of planes.

''We have put out a request to all leasing companies and aircraft manufacturers to let us know how many and what kind of aircraft they can make available to us from 2008-11,'' he added.

He said the availability of aircraft could become a major constraint in moving ahead.

He said Air India and the government in the past had committed the mistake of ordering aircraft and then forgetting all about the need for aircraft for many years.

''I am sure we will not commit that mistake in future.... We will finalise orders for new aircraft to expand beyond 2011 in 2008,'' he added.

On the recent offloading of passengers due to heavy overbookings, he said it was a rare occasion.

''We have issued instructions to officials to watch the booking profile to see that overbooking is limited,'' he said.

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