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Air India plans to wet lease 5 aircraft

Ashwini Phadnis

In talks with Air Sahara for Boeing 767

New Delhi , Nov. 2

In an effort to maintain its regular schedule, Air India plans to wet lease five aircraft, including a Boeing 767 aircraft from Air Sahara.

Sources told Business Line that Air India was negotiating with Air Sahara for leasing the 193-seater aircraft that was likely to be utilised on the India-UK route.

"The negotiations for the Air Sahara aircraft as also the other four aircraft that are to be taken on wet lease are still on going. We hope to be able to complete the negotiations this week itself," sources indicated.

While a wet lease involves inducting an aircraft with the cockpit crew, sources said that the cabin crew would be from Air India.

If the proposed lease of the Air Sahara aircraft is finalised, it would be the second time in the recent past that Air India would be leasing an aircraft from another airline in India. Last year, Air India had leased an Airbus A-340 from Jet Airways for a short duration of time.

Air India also plans to lease three Airbus A-340-300 and a Boeing 767 from two the UK-based leasing companies.

All the five aircraft are to be leased for up to six months.

To keep schedule

The airline has been forced to enter the leasing market as the existing leased aircraft in its fleet were being sought back by the lessors.

The leased capacity would allow the airline to maintain its normal schedule till such time as the first of the 68 aircraft that Air India is to purchase is ready to be delivered.

Air India signed an agreement to purchase 68 Boeing aircraft the first of which is expected to join its fleet later this month.

Currently, the airline has a mixed fleet of 37 aircraft that includes Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A-310.

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