Air India expects to take first 787 next March

São Paulo
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Air India expects to begin taking delivery of new Boeing 787s at the end of next year's first quarter.

"Boeing is now offering us March 2011," Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav told ATI during a Star Alliance event in Sao Paulo.

While Air India is looking to sublease nearly half of its new Boeing 777-200LR/-300ER fleet, Jadhav says the carrier requires 787s as soon as possible because the aircraft are critical to its plans for improving its intra-Asia operation.

"The 787 is going to change the game," Jadhav says. "It is really required for our market. That's why we ordered 27."

Jadhav adds the 787 will give Air India a competitive advantage on Asian regional routes such as Delhi-Hong Kong, resulting in increased feed for its long-haul routes. "That's why we are a little unhappy in the delays of the 787," Jadhav says.

Air India's 787 deliveries have been delayed multiple times since the carrier ordered 27 Dreamliners in January 2006.