AI looks at fleet expansion plans beyond 2011, may order 60 more aircraft

Mumbai: Air India, which has already contracted for the purchase of 111 Boeing and Airbus aircraft for domestic and international operations, is mulling plans to acquire a further 60 aircraft. This addition to the fleet would be aimed at meeting the carrier''s expansion plans beyond 2011.

Deliveries of the present order of 68 Boeing and 43 Airbus aircraft would be made by 2011, according to Air India chairman and MD, V Thulasidas, and fresh orders would have to be placed over the next six months to ensure that deliveries are made over the period 2011-2016.

Meanwhile, Thulasidas said that Air India would convert all its Boeing 747-400s into cargo jets in a phased manner, even as it places orders for new, larger aircraft to replace them after 2011.

According to Thulasidas, the new orders of large aircraft would either be the super jumbo Airbus A-380 or the Boeing 747-8.