India yet to decide on Airbus purchase

Monday, 24 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Indian government Monday said it was yet to decide on a proposal by the state-owned domestic airline to purchase 43 Airbus aircraft at an estimated cost of 100.89 billion.

Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain said the Indian Airlines' proposal to purchase 43 aircraft -- including Airbus A-319, A-320 and A-321 -- was being considered by his ministry in consultation with the Planning Commission and the finance and environment ministries.

In a written statement in the Lok Sabha, Hussian said: "The proposal will be taken up for an investment decision after due process."

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said earlier this month that a decision would soon be made on the deal.

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who visited the country in early February, too pressed for an early decision on the deal.

The Indian Airlines board had last year chosen the Airbus aircraft for its fleet renewal plans and Raffarin, speaking on the sidelines of the Aero India exhibition in Bangalore, had said he was hopeful the Indian government would endorse this decision.

Hussain said Air-India, the state-owned flag carrier, too had plans to purchase new aircraft capable of carrying more than 250 passengers. It had, however, not selected the aircraft it wanted to buy.

"Modalities of funding by the airlines can be worked out only after a final decision on acquisition is taken," he said.
Source: IANS

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