State-owned Indian Airlines has shelved plans to replace its fleet of 11 ageing Airbus A300B2/B4s and 12 Boeing 737-200s, opting instead to pursue a refurbishment programme.

The programme, which will include an interior refit, will allow the aircraft to be operated for "several more years", according to Indian Airlines. The work is scheduled to begin within weeks, and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The carrier had been evaluating an extensive fleet renewal, with the Airbus A318/A319 and the Boeing 717-200 and 737-600/700 under consideration for its narrowbody requirements. The airline's widebody needs were to be met by either the Airbus A330-200/300, or the Boeing 767.

The plan had been under study since 1997, and a decision was awaited early last year. It was delayed for economic and political reasons, however. Indian Airlines confirms that evaluations have stopped now, and the fleet renewal has been deferred.

The airline also operates 30 Airbus A320s, and serves more than 70 domestic cities, as well as regional destinations.

Source: Flight International