Air India Seeks Planes With Crew as Strike Cripples Operations

Air India Ltd. today sought bids for aircraft with crew for a period of up to six months to tide over a nine-day long strike by some pilots that’s crippled its domestic operations.

The bids have to be submitted by May 12, the airline said in a tender posted today on its website. The bidders can offer one or more aircraft, which preferably should be less than five years old, according to the tender.

The state-owned carrier is looking to lease narrow-body jets including Airbus SAS A320 and Boeing Co. (BA) 737 planes, as well as wide body Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 models, according to the document. The airline plans to use the planes to resume services after being forced to cancel as many as 90 per cent of its domestic flights.

“In order to meet urgent operational requirements and to open up new routes, Air India Ltd. invites bids for wet leasing of aircraft to operate its schedule services,” the airline said in the tender document.

The striking pilots previously worked for Indian Airlines, the carrier Air India combined about four years ago. They are seeking raises so that their salaries match those of crew from Air India, the union said in an e-mailed statement on April 27.

To contact the reporters on this story: Siddharth Philip in Mumbai at sphilip3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net.

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