New Delhi: Air India is contemplating to sell five out of its eight Boeing 777-200LR aircraft owing to change in the market dynamics on global recession cue, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

"Air India is planning to sell its B777-200LR (long range) aircraft. Air India had inducted eight such aircraft between 2007 and 2010," Minister of State for Civil Aviation, KC Venugopal said in Lok Sabha.

"Due to steep increase in fuel prices, some of the ultra long operations like Bengaluru to San Francisco never commenced. Further, the market dynamics changed significantly due to the global recession. It was found that the yield from non-stop routes of B777-200LR was poor," the Minister informed.

Venugopal added that average age of the Air India fleet is 7.8 years and the airline has not sold any aircraft in its fleet before their average age.

In reply to another question, Venugopal said the country was facing shortage of 1,200 air traffic controllers keeping in mind current and future requirements. To reduce the shortage, he said, "Recruitment of 200 junior executives (ATC) has been completed in 2012 out of which 187 have joined. Airports Authority of India has approved recruitment of 400 JE (ATC) per year for next three years.”

He said Airports Authority of India (AAI) had conducted a study on long term manpower requirement through an international consultant. "The report had been examined by a committee constituted by AAI Board. Its implementation requires approval of AAI Board and no specific time-frame can be given," he said.


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