Air India to go ahead with acquisition of Boeing 787s

Air India to go ahead with acquisition of Boeing 787s

New Delhi: Air India would go ahead with the acquisition of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft as part of its overall expansion programme and seek government’s nod for it, official sources said on Thursday.

A decision to this effect is understood to have been taken by the Air India Board which met here on Thursday in the backdrop of civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi’s statements that the ailing airline did not have enough money to go in for a massive fleet acquisition plan.

While the airline has placed orders for 27 Boeing 787s with the first delivery expected later this year, the group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, which is reviewing its turnaround plan, is likely to take a final decision in this regard, the sources said.

At the meeting, the board also reviewed the airline’s liquidity position and infusion of funds from the government, an airline spokesperson said, adding that Air India has so far received 1,200 crore by way of equity infusion in 2011-12.

On the aircraft acquisition issue, the board reviewed the modified turnaround plan prepared by SBICaps in which suggested “a scenario for expansion" if Air India was to grow as per the growth rate of the aviation market, he said.

The acquisition of Boeing 787 deal is understood to have been part of this modified turnaround plan and expansion programme and a presentation on the Dreamliner acquisition was made at the board meeting.

The turnaround plan was based on the recommendations of the committee of officers from the finance and other ministries, which had earlier suggested that “a scenario for expansion should be prepared if Air India was to grow as per market growth rate".