Air India looking to replace older A320s

Mumbai
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Air India is in the market for newer Airbus A320 aircraft that it plans to use to replace the older ones in its fleet in the next fiscal year.

India's flag carrier plans to hold a tender shortly for around 14 A320s that it hopes to receive in the 2013/14 fiscal year, says its director of finance S Venkat. It hopes to get all of them on operating leases, he adds.

This is part of the airline's restructuring plan, which aims to bring the average age of its fleet down and reduce operating costs as it attempts to cut its losses.

The airline has identified a buyer for five of its Boeing 777-200LRs and hopes to complete the deal by June. It will also continue to induct Boeing 787s, which will be deployed on its long-haul network.

Air India also has five Boeing 747-400s that are used on Hadj and VIP operations. These are likely to retire from its fleet in the 2014/15 fiscal year, says Venkat.

The airline has 111 aircraft, of which 86 are three years old or younger. The aim is keep the average age of the fleet as low as possible, he adds.

Data from Flightglobal Pro shows that Air India has 68 Airbus A320 family aircraft in its fleet that used to be operated by Indian Airlines, which merged with Air India in 2007.