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Opinion: Air India should should take all ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliners – Bangalore Aviation

November 7, 2011

Last month, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) published a scathing financial audit of Air India that questioned the merits of Air India’s 2005 order for Boeing wide-body aircraft. Of that order, Boeing still has to deliver 27 787s and 3 777-300ERs.

Ever since the CAG report, the entire management, bureaucratic and political leadership, especially in the Ministry of Civil Aviaiton is walking on egg-shells.

In September, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi, claimed that Air India was incapable of buying all the 27 aircraft worth nearly Rs. 18,000 crore (US$ 3.6 billion).

From a narrow view point, the minister may be right, but when we look at the broader context, cancelling even a part of the order is a big mistake.

While we outline the reasons for our opinion below, it is clear that Air India needs the new aircraft, if for no other reason, to correct many wrongs in the fleet procurement commenced under this very same order, initiated by the previous minister Mr. Praful Patel.

Current wide-body fleet

From this current order of 68 aircraft, Air India has eight Boeing 777-200LR (Long Range) in a 8 first, 35 business and 195 economy class config (8/35/195), 12 Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) in a 4/35/303 configuration, two Airbus A330-200s, and four Boeing 747-400s in a 12/26/385. Three 777-300ERs are still pending for delivery. The Boeing 777’s feature full lie-flat first and business class seats. Lie-flat seats may be common in first class, but very few airlines offer this comfort in business.



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