Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani has tabled a proposal to lease five Boeing 777 aircraft from Jet Airways before State Bank of India chief Rajnish Kumar on Wednesday, reports said.
The proposal is likely to be a part of the agenda for next board meeeting of Air India. The Air India board is scheduled to meet on April 27. Air India's leasing plan could be put for the board's approval after more internal discussion, a PTI report said. If everything goes according to plan, the proposal will be sent to the aviation ministry for the final approval.
Earlier this week, the Air India chairman had written to his SBI counterpart, voicing his interest in leasing five of the Boeing 777s from Jet's fleet. The national flag carrier is reportedly planning to deploy long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliner in key international routes.
Air India is keen to launch flights on more international routes and enhance frequencies on its existing ones. After Jet suspended operations, Air India is the lone domestic airline flying on long haul and ultra-long haul routes like London, Paris, New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco, among other cities.
"But it does not have additional aircraft to do so. If it is able to strike a deal with Jet lenders, it can expand the international operations further," an Air India source told PTI.
Stuck between rising debt and falling revenue, Jet Airways grounded its entire operations from Wednesday night. The airline now owns 16 wide-body planes - 10 Boeing 777-300ERs and six Airbus A330s. The SBI-led consortium of lenders are now running the airline under a debt recast plan.