AI seeks pre-clearance for US-bound passengers
The national carrier has sought the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Mumbai and Delhi airports to begin with, which would allow these passengers complete the immigration process at these airports itself.
“We have requested the MEA for having this facility as it would enable our flyers land in the US as domestic passengers and, if granted, this would save considerable time for them,” Air India sources said.
If Air India is allowed to have such a facility, its passengers would not have to go for immigration clearance on arrival, sources said. Such a facility exists for Jet-Etihad passengers at Abu Dhabi, which is the headquarters of Etihad. “Since Etihad is a partner of Jet Airways, its passengers from India flying via Abu Dhabi also avail the pre-clearance facility. Because of this, Jet Airways is taking away a sizeable portion of our traffic to US as the flyers don’t have to stand in long queues on landing there,” they said.
According to a recent report of the Sydney-based aviation <g data-gr-id="21">think tank</g> Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), passengers from India contributed 36 per cent to Emirates and Etihad’s US traffic in a 12-month period ending August 2014. Under the Jet-Etihad deal, Jet Airways plans to operate codeshared flights with its partner Etihad from 23 cities in the country. “Once the code-share flights from all these 23 cities are allowed, it would further eat into our share.
To dry lease 14 planes from Kuwait
National carrier Air India would dry lease 14 Airbus A320 planes from a Kuwaiti lessor as it seeks to replace its ageing narrow-body fleet with new fuel efficient planes.
The carrier plans to replace 19 A320 planes. It has already entered into a deal with a Chinese firm for five <g data-gr-id="58">sharklets</g>-equipped A320 (<g data-gr-id="59">ceo</g>-current engine option) aircraft. For these five planes, it has tied up with independent Chinese lessor China Aircraft Leasing Company, which has already delivered one plane in early February. The rest four are to be inducted by October this year. Under the 14-plane deal with new engine option (NEO), inked recently, a Kuwaiti aircraft leasing firm would deliver A320s between April 2017 and March 31, 2018, an official said.