Indian takes delivery of first of 43 new Airbus aircraft

Mumbai: The first of the 43 assembly-fresh aircraft ordered by state-run carrier, Indian (Indian Airlines), from the European manufacturer Airbus Industrie, has arrived at the IGI airport. The 122-seater Airbus A-319 was received by civil aviation minister Praful Patel, Indian CMD Vishwapati Trivedi and senior officials of the ministry and other agencies.

Indian has placed orders for nineteen A-319s, twenty A-321s and four A-320s at an estimated cost of $2 billion.

Deliveries of the aircraft would be stepped up from June 2007 with six aircraft to be delivered that year, 12 in 2008, 18 in 2009 and the last six in 2010. Delivery of all 43 aircraft is expected to be completed by March 2010.

The planes would come in two class configurations with the A-319 having 122 seats, A-321 with 172 seats and A-320 having 140 seats.

Barring the aircraft which is already delivered, the remaining 42 planes joining the fleet next year would have in-flight audio-visual entertainment systems on the seatbacks.

This is the first new aircraft that the airline added to its fleet in about a decade, an official with the civil aviation ministry said. The new A319 is the 74th aircraft of the domestic carrier.