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AI to dry lease 14 planes from Kuwait

Hong Kong by an Air India

New Delhi: 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.

Under the 14-plane deal with new engine option (NEO), which was inked recently after months of evaluation, a Kuwaiti aircraft leasing firm would deliver A320s between April 2017 and March 31, 2018, a senior Air India official told PTI.

“We have selected Kuwait-based leasing firm after evaluating the bids of all the lessors, who had evinced interest in leasing us 14 A320s (NEO)” the official said.

These planes, which are to be inducted in fiscal 2018, are being leased for a ten-year period, the official said without divulging the name of the company.

Air India had earlier leased aircraft from Kuwait’s ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company in early 2000s.

Besides, the airline is also in discussion with global engine suppliers Pratt and Whitney and CFM for supplying engines for these planes, the official said, adding, “we expect to finalise the supplier shortly.”

Air India currently has 63 narrow-body planes comprising A319s, A320s and A 321s. Some of these A320s are as old as 26 years.

Lessors generally charge an airline between 0.85 to one per cent of the aircraft’s list price (the cost of the aircraft) as rental per month.

As per the new prices announced by the French aircraft maker Airbus this year, an A320 list price stands at USD 97 million and A320neo at USD 106.02 million.

While the A320ceo are 180-seater planes, the A320neo will have 236 seats, the official said.

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