RFP details Air India 787 pricing and configuration

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Air India has detailed the technical and financial specifications of its first seven Boeing 787s, including prices the Indian flag carrier will pay for its new twin-engine jetliner as part of its financial reorganisation that aims to conduct a sale leaseback on those early deliveries.

According to the information included in its request for proposal (RFP) for lessors published on the internet, the Indian carrier will incur a net cost of approximately $804 million, which includes the cost for the first seven 787s and two additional GEnx-1B engines.

The carrier breaks out its individual prices ranging from $109.6 million for its first 787 to $111.1 million for its seventh. Such prices, which include engines valued in the filing at around $16 million appear to have escalated over time to account for changes in commodity prices and inflation since the airline firmed its order for 27 787s in December 2005.

The deliveries, according to the filing, are 85% covered by US Ex-Im Bank financing and the balance by commercial financing sources.

The aircraft feature a two-class configuration for a total of 256 seats, including 18 Contour Aura business class seats and 238 Weber 5751 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 nine-abreast configuration and fitted with Thales i8000 Top Series in-flight entertainment.

According to the filing, VT-ANH, 787 Airplane 35, will be the airline's first delivered, which is expected to make its first flight in the middle of the month to support final certification requirements for the General Electric GEnx-1B-powered 787.

The second, Airplane 29, which has already completed change incorporation operations at Boeing's Global Services & Support facility in San Antonio, Texas will be delivered in March.

VT-ANA, Airplane 25, is expected in April, while VT-ANB and -ANC, Airplanes 26 and 38 will be delivered in May, followed by Airplane 30 and what is believed to be Airplane 32, registered VT-ANE and -ANG in June, respectively.

Also due in June to Air India is the first 787 built in Charleston, South Carolina, Airplane 46, although it is unclear if this will be a part of the first seven in the sale leaseback transaction. Registrations and serial number have been shuffled in the wake of the Boeing's changing production planning for 787 deliveries.

Further, Air India's early batch of deliveries also include aircraft that are in storage at Paine Field in Everett, Washington which require extensive re-work and post-certification modification, calling into question the feasibility of Boeing delivering all the aircraft as outlined in the current schedule.

Air India's 787 fleet will initially be powered by GEnx-1B67 engines rated at 70,000lbs of thrust before being de-rated to 67,000lbs after Boeing completes the certification of the reduced thrust setting, said the filing.