Indian Airlines to augment fleet size through lease

New Delhi: The government has said that Indian Airlines (IA) would take on lease 12 wide-bodied aircraft and six turbo-prop ATRs in order to increase its fleet size. It is also considering taking on a further ten A320s on lease.

The airline is battling to regain its market share, which has dropped to 38 per cent from 65 per cent in 2004.

The main reason for the decline in market share is its fleet size, which has remained static while other airlines have grown. The government has plans to allow IA to buy up to 43 Airbuses.

IA plans to buy a mix of Airbus-319s, Airbus-320s and Airbus-321s, which are to be delivered over a period of four years between 2005 and 2009. In the interim period, IA will take on these aircraft on lease.

Indian Airlines has told a parliamentary consultative committee on civil aviation that it plans to have a dedicated freighter operation by converting its B737 aircraft into freighters. Apart from this, it is also planning to join a global airline, the state-owned carrier told the committee. IA would benefit by way of getting access to new markets through code sharing, enhancing its global image, and upgrading technology and service standards.