PM inducts AI's new planes for long-haul flights, cargo operation
New Delhi, July 28 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today inducted five of the 111 new planes being acquired by Air India (AI) and Indian for long-haul flights and cargo operations.
''Open skies (liberal air services agreements) have created new markets. These planes join the existing fleet at an opportune time when the aviation market is booming,'' he said.
''We must create new management styles with better customer care.
World-class service levels should become a norm,'' he told a gathering of airline officials at the Palam Air Force Station here.
Two days ago, the flagship carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 777-200LR (long range) Worldliner. AI will be the first India-based operator to offer direct, non-stop flights from Mumbai to New York's John F Kennedy International Airport starting August 1.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the merger of AI and Indian is on anvil in a few days. He said both carriers have placed orders for 111 new planes to be delivered by 2011.
''But if we have to look ahead, we must revisit the entire exercise, look beyond 2011 and start working on a fresh set of order for more aircraft.'' As the process of merger with India (Airlines) moves on, AI will receive three more B777-200LRs and three 777-300ERs (extended range) airplanes later this year. Its 11.6 billion dollar order for 68 Boeing jetliners, placed in December 2005, was the largest commercial airplane order in India's civil aviation history in terms of price.