AI to phase out old A-320s by 2009-10

Indian Airlines' controversial "fly by wire" Airbus A-320s

Indian Airlines' controversial "fly by wire" Airbus A-320s

New Delhi: The first batch of Indian Airlines’ controversial “fly by wire” Airbus A-320s inducted into the fleet in 1989, are soon going to be phased out. Unlike private carriers that have deferred deliveries of new planes and also cancelled few orders, national carrier Air India will acquire 111 new planes worth Rs 42,000 crore, as per schedule; but has decided to phase out more planes than earlier envisaged.
“We have now decided to sell the 11 remaining A-320s of the first batch and return 15 leased aircraft (of other types) by end of next fiscal. This was not envisaged earlier. The 111 new planes on order thus will not greatly increase our fleet size and will be mostly for replacing the ones we phase out,” said a senior official, while explaning the airline’s strategy to handle the current downturn in travel. With a fleet size of 43, the A-320 is the backbone of former Indian Airlines’ fleet and the `problematic’ planes were mostly of the first batch.
The first batch of Airbus A-320s started joining IA in July 1989. Then after one of these planes crashed in Bangalore in February 1990, doubts over the brand new `fly by wire’ technology that these aircraft had brought to India led to grounding of this fleet. The planes were finally allowed to clear in December 1990.
“The first batch also has a peculiar problem with its wheels’ bogey landing gear that is not easy to replace or even repair. There have been issues of hydraulic leaks with this batch. So the slowdown has given us an unplanned opportunity to phase them out,” said an official.


~ by anand213 on March 18, 2009.

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