Air India to defer fleet expansion ?
Air India has reportedly put fleet expansion plans on hold after the government initiaited talks on privatising the company that has run up debts of Rs 55,000 crore. Senior Air India executives confirmed that discussions on buying new aircraft were shelved after the aviation ministry said that the airline’s fate is being discussed by the finance ministry. “The aviation ministry has asked us not to go ahead with any expansion plans because the government has started a discussion on the privatisation,” said an Air India official. “While we cannot hold back on induction of aircraft that were already committed, we have immediately put on hold discussions on getting new aircraft. ”
The airline was otherwise in the process of adding 17 aircraft, 10 more ATRs for Alliance Air and 7 more Airbus 320 neos (new engine options) for Air India to strengthen its short haul regional and international presence. Presently, the company is adding 10 ATR aircraft for Alliance Air and 22 Airbus 320 (neos) for Air India, the induction of these 32 aircraft being already committed.