State-owned Air India has taken the delivery of its last Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which will be inducted in its fleet on Thursday. The new plane was delivered to Air India in the presence of its chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal at the Seattle facility of the US aircraft maker Boeing Co, an airline source said.
Air India currently has 26 Boeing 787-800 planes in its fleet. The national carrier had in January 2006 ordered as many as 68 Boeing aircraft, including 27 B787-800s. “The 27th and the last Boeing Dreamliner plane will be arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Thursday. With the induction of this plane, Air India will complete the acquisition of 27 such planes that it had ordered in 2006,” the source said.
Significantly, Air India’s entire European operations are carried out with Boeing Dreamliner planes. Most of these planes are on `sale and lease back’ mode. Under the SLB arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long—term period and continues to use it without actually owning it.
As part of its fleet upgradation and expansion plans, Air India had in 2006 placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft — 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300ERs, eight B777-200LRs and 18 B-737-800s. Of these, the state-run carrier has already taken the delivery of all but three planes. The remaining three planes — all B777s — are to be delivered to the carrier early next year.