National carrier Air India has invited bids for the sale and leaseback of all its newly acquired Boeing 787 aircraft from prospective lessors by the first week of February.
All the six 787 aircraft Air India bought have been grounded since Jan. 17 on a directive from the U.S. FAA following two separate battery failures in 787s operated by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
In a Request for Proposal (RFP), dated Jan. 23, the airline has invited quotations from lessors on or before Feb. 5.
According to the RFP, the airline “would sell the aircraft to the lessor and immediately lease them back under an operating lease for a period of 12 years, with an option to extend.”
The Indian carrier has received six 787s and is expected to take delivery of one more this month. However, delivery of the seventh aircraft is expected to be deferred because of the prevailing technical problem.
Despite this, Air India has invited bids for the sale and leaseback of all seven aircraft.
As Air India will be entering into a long-term operating lease, the airline will not contribute to any maintenance reserve but will maintain the aircraft during the period of the lease, the RFP says.
Air India plans to enter an on-point maintenance agreement with GE for the installed engines, an Air India official says.
Air India had ordered 27 787s as part of a total of 111 aircraft ordered by Air India and then Indian Airlines from Boeing and Airbus. Air India ordered 68 aircraft from Boeing in December 2005, and Indian Airlines ordered 43 units from Airbus in February 2006. Air India and Indian Airlines merged in 2007 to form Air India Ltd.