Boeing 787s to replace Air India's A-330 fleet

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) National carrier Air India plans to replace its Airbus A-330s with with its newly-acquired Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on many international routes, which will help the company save on fuel.

The airline has successfully replaced the fuel guzzling Boeing 777s with B-787s on some international routes and is now planning to operate the Dreamliners on A-330 destinationS.

"We are planning to eventually replace the A-330s with the 787s. The plans will be initiated by next year when the lease of the A-330s runs out," a senior Air India official told IANS.

"We are hoping to benefit from fuel cost savings that the 787 provides us. Apart from that there is a buzz about 787s. The new technologies it uses that will help us attract more passengers."

Currently, Air India has two-leased A-330s which are mainly deployed to operate to Gulf and Japan.

According to the official the decision to go with the A-330 was a stop-gap arrangement till the 787s were inducted.

"The A-330s were a stop-gap arrangement. As the Dreamliners got delayed and there was a urgent need to maintain market share to destinations in the Gulf and East Asia, the A-330s were chosen," the official said.

"Now, with induction of 787s picking up, we will eventually replace the A330s on the Gulf routes and then on the Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong operations," the official said adding that the airline also utilises older Airbus A-319 aircraft on some of these routes.

The A-319s will also be phased out from some of the international routes with the 787s. A Boeing 787 can seat up to 256 passengers, while the A-330 has a capacity of 249 and the A-319 can seat up to 144.

The airline currently has six 787s and will take delivery of eight more by the end of this year, another five in 2014, six in 2015 and two in 2016.

Air India had booked 27 Boeing 787s in 2006 in a mega-deal.

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