Boeing wins $6.9 B order from Air India

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 27 April 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Air India board has approved acquisition of 50 Boeing aircraft of three different types at an estimated cost of $6.9 billion. The national carrier is buying a new aircraft after a gap of ten years.

The board decided to choose Boeing aircraft after detailed examination of the recommendation made by the in house techno-economic committee that was appointed to examine the bids. The airline will buy eight B-777-200 LR medium capacity ultra long range aircraft in three class configuration, 15 B777-300 ER medium capacity long range 350 seater aircrafts in three class configuration and 27 B787 medium capacity long range 250 seater aircrafts in two class configuration.

Boeing Co. said it hopes to corner a big share of the estimated $35 billion market in India over the next 20 years.

"It's an important customer and we're really happy to have them on board," Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program said. "As the Indian airlines start to deregulate, we're seeing a lot of stuff starting to happen over there."

Air-India is facing increasing competition as private carriers Jet Airways and Air Sahara have launched flights to Southeast Asia and will soon fly to London.

The fleet acquisition plan, which is being sent to the government for final approval will take care of the state owned carriers fleet requirement up to 2012-13. The carrier at present has 37 aircrafts.

European rival Airbus Industrie expressed its “disappointment” at the decision of Air India board to acquire Boeing aircrafts. “We are disappointed at the decision of AI especially when we ooffered better solution for more competitiveness” company said.

The board also accorded an in-principle approval to the company for an initial public offer of shares, subject to the approval of the Government.

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