Air India is planning to dry-lease four Airbus A-330 aircraft to service some of its medium-haul international routes, airline sources said on Monday.
"The purpose of taking A-330 aircraft is to deploy them on medium-haul routes or on sectors which have 7-8 hours of flying, like Hong Kong," the sources said, adding "though we are leasing only four aircraft now, our actual requirement is that of ten of these planes."
Currently, the national carrier has two of these wide-body planes in its fleet which are operating on the Jeddah and Shanghai sectors.
The leasing period of the A-330s would be one-and-a-half year to two years, the sources said. Under the dry-lease arrangement, the lessor provides an aircraft without crew, insurance, ground staff, supporting equipment and maintenance, all of which has to be taken care of by the lessee.
The routes on which these A-330 aircraft would be deployed are being finalized, the sources said, adding that the delivery of these leased planes would have to be made between October 2010 and September 2011.
The decision to lease these Airbus planes came in the wake of delays in the delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliners by the US manufacturer for which Air India has sought compensation.
Air India had placed orders for the delivery of 27 Dreamliner aircraft even when the project was on drawing board in 2006. It was to receive the first aircraft in 2009, which would now be delivered by 2013.
Following the delay in the delivery of B-787s, Air India has planned to take on lease ten A-330s, besides several A-320s and turboprop ATR planes to meet its requirements.