Air India plans tenders to lease four freighters

NEW DELHI - International flag carrier Air-India Ltd. will float tenders in December to lease one Boeing 747-400 and three Airbus A310 freighters to boost cargo services in 2005, an airline official said yesterday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 12 Dec 2004, 11:25 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:47 AM

Earlier this week, India’s aviation minister said Air-India would revive its shut cargo airline in 2005, while another state-owned carrier, Indian Airlines Ltd., would also launch a domestic cargo service next year.

The official said Air-India planned to introduce the freighters by April-May 2005, when its Airbus A310s are replaced by Boeing 737s on lucrative Gulf routes as part of a plan to launch a new discount airline.

The A310s currently carry both passengers and cargo, especially perishable food products, to the Gulf countries.

Air-India’s new budget airline, Air-India Express, will begin operations in April with about 25 per cent lower fares than other international carriers and aim to boost its share of the key Gulf and Southeast Asian markets.

The airline will lease and induct 14 Boeing 737s in phases, six in March, four in October and another four in March 2006.

The official said Air-India would also float tenders, possibly before the end of the year, to buy up to 50 planes — two thirds of them as firm orders and one third as options — as part of a plan to more than double its fleet by 2012/03.

Air-India currently has a fleet of 34 planes.

Air-India’s board said in November the airline would buy three types of medium capacity aircraft and consider the Airbus A340-500 or the Boeing 777-200LR (long range) to fly on ultra long-range routes, usually non-stop from India to the U.S.

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