Expecting deliveries of five more Dreamliners between May and November, Air India plans to raise a bridge loan of $500 million to finance the purchase of four of these aircraft and use them to launch flights to new destinations like Moscow, Rome and Milan.
The national carrier, which has already inducted 13 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, expects deliveries of two more such planes in May, while another three of the total 27 ordered are slated to be delivered by the US manufacturer in June, August and November.
The additional aircraft would enable Air India to operate to new cities, senior airline officials said, adding they were awaiting certain approvals for the launch of these flights planned for later this year.
Intending to have a new fleet of 0-6 years of age, officials said the company was planning to re-issue a tender for leasing of 14 Airbus A-320 aircraft for a limited period. The planes were being acquired in an all-economy configuration with 188 seats, in a bid to combat heightened competition on domestic routes. The tender will be issued again as the carrier has not been able to get the requisite numbers of new aircraft for delivery next year, the officials said.
Air India was also reconfiguring its A-321 aircraft to reduce business class seats from 20 to 12 and increase economy seating, the officials said, adding that four A-320s and six A-321s have already been reconfigured.