First of 43 aircraft joins Indian fleet
Friday, 20 October 2006, 07:00 Hrs
NEW DELHI: State-run Indian Thursday acquired first of its ordered 43 new aircraft from Airbus Industrie with the rest joining the fleet in the coming years. "It is a very proud moment and I am happy that our national carriers have come such a long way over the years," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters after taking delivery at Delhi's IGI airport. The minister was accompanied by chairman and managing director of Indian, Vishwapati Trivedi, and senior officials of his ministry. Replying to a query, the minister said the government would consider positively any proposal sent by the government-owned airlines to increase the number of aircraft in their fleet. With the joining of this plane, the number of aircraft in Indian's fleet has gone up to 74. "The rest of the 42 aircraft will be added in a phased manner. This process would start in year 2007," Patel said. Earlier in February this year, Indian had placed an order for 43 Airbus aircraft - 19 A319s, 20 A321s and 4 A320s -- at an estimated cost of $2 billion. The delivery of these aircraft will be stepped up from June 2007, with six aircraft to be delivered in 2007, 12 in 2008, 18 in 2009 and the last 6 aircraft in 2010. Indian has a wide network covering 54 domestic destinations across the country and an equally wide network of 18 international destinations like Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat, and Kuwait in the Gulf, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in Southeast Asia, besides SAARC countries.