Air India to dry lease 14 Airbus A320 planes from Kuwait


National carrier Air India would dry lease 14 Airbus A320 planes from a Kuwaiti lessor as it seeks to replace its ageing narrow-body fleet with new fuel efficient planes.

The carrier plans to replace 19 A320 planes. It has already entered into a deal with a Chinese firm for five sharklets-equipped A320 (ceo-current engine option) aircraft.

For these five planes, it has tied up with independent Chinese lessor China Aircraft Leasing Company, which has already delivered one plane in early February. The rest four are to be inducted by October this year.

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Air India seeks pre-clearance for US-bound passengers to beat competition


NEW DELHI: Facing stiff competition from the Jet Airways-Etihad combine on the lucrative US routes, Air India has requested the External Affairs Ministry to facilitate a pre-clearance facility for the flyers on its US-bound non-stop flights from major domestic airports.

The national carrier has sought the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Mumbai and Delhi airports to begin with, which would allow these passengers complete the immigration process at these airports itself.

“We have requested the MEA for having this facility as it would enable our flyers land in the US as domestic passengers and, if granted, this would save considerable time for them,” Air India sources said.

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Air India seals codeshare alliance with Air New Zealand, Avianca


Providing a seamless connectivity to its passengers bound for New Zealand and Colombia, national carrier Air India has sewed up a codeshare alliance with Air New Zealand and Avianca.

The two partnerships were sealed during the 71st Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Miami, early this week.

Both Air New Zealand and Avianca are part of the global airlines group Star Alliance, of which Air India is also a member.

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Air India moves IT to cloud; looks to upgrade technology

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Air India, India’s national airline, is beginning to move its IT to the cloud and is exploring the use of iPads for work, as it looks to upgrade its technology to keep up with competition.

Air India invests far less in technology than its private rivals and hasn’t hired anyone for internal IT department in over a decade. But experts say competition and a far more tech-friendly government at the Centre has loosened the purse strings for IT investments.

“Air India has initiated a strategic move to use Cloud as a platform for creating IT infrastructure to avail the benefit of opex and payper-use models. E-file (paper less files) launched in January ’15 is first Cloud adoption in Indian Data Center by AI,” Mukesh Sareen, deputy general manager of IT at the airline told ET. “AI is looking at migrating more applications to the cloud. Migration will largely depend on expiry of support on internal IT infrastructure.”

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Air India closes its office at Kanpur

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Air India has closed its office at Ahirwan airport here and transferred all employees to Lucknow, almost a year after the national carrier stopped flight services from Kanpur to New Delhi, a senior airport official said today.

“We have received the order yesterday to close the office,” Director, Airport Authority of India in Kanpur, Wasim Ahmed told PTI, saying Air India has transfered all staff to its Lucknow office.

He said Air India had stopped its services from Kanpur to New Delhi and vice versa on July 4, 2014.

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Government asks SBI Capital Markets to review Air India’s Turnaround Plan

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NEW DELHI: The government has asked SBI Capital Markets to review Air India’s Turnaround Plan (TAP) and submit a report to it within three months, a move which comes following “drastic changes” in the ground situation in the last three years.

SBI Capital Markets, which is the investment banking arm of public sector lender SBI, has been asked by the Civil Aviation Ministry to carry out a thread bare analysis of TAP, which the erstwhile UPA dispensation had approved for the carrier in 2012, entailing a Rs 30,000 crore bailout package with certain riders, sources said today.

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Air India shelves plan to acquire Boeing 787-9 aircraft

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NEW DELHI: National carrier Air India has shelved its plan to acquire five Boeing 787-9, the higher range variant of Boeing Dreamliner (787-800) aircraft, after failing to secure the nod of its Board and would stick to the original model.

Air India currently has 20 Dreamliners in its fleet. The carrier had signed a deal with the American aircraft maker Boeing Co in 2005 to acquire 68 planes, of which 27 are the Boeing 787-800s. The rest 41 are Boeing 777s (23) and 737-800 (18).

Of the remaining seven planes, which are to be delivered to the Air India by mid-2016, the carrier had late last year proposed to replace five of them with Boeing 787-9.

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