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Paramount Airways to take to the skies again

Last updated: 10 November, 2010
New Delhi, Nov 10, (PTI): 20:43 IST

Months after its operations were crippled by a legal dispute with aircraft lessors, Chennai-based carrier Paramount Airways will again take to the skies, probably by next month, after a government panel today cleared its proposal to buy 14 planes and lease six more.

At a meeting here today, the Aircraft Acquisition Committee of the Civil Aviation Ministry cleared a proposal of the airline to acquire eight Airbus A-320s and six Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft and wet lease six others.

The Committee gives clearances to airlines' proposal for import of aircraft after considering a variety of issues, including availability of slots at airports where they want to operate.

"We will re-launch our operations with the wet-leased planes by the first or second week of December and soon restore normalcy in operations on all the 17 destinations," a highly-placed official of the airline told PTI.

Wet lease means the aircraft would be supplied by the lessor, who would also provide the crew and pay for its maintenance and insurance. Terming the wet lease as "a short-term stop-gap arrangement", the officials said these aircraft would be replaced as and when the acquired aircraft start getting delivered.

Asked by when the deliveries of the Airbus and Bombardier planes would begin, the sources said these would start getting inducted in the current financial year.
"We will restore normalcy in our entire network by December itself," the Paramount official said.

The airline had suffered a setback earlier this year after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had deregistered three of its 72-75 seater Embraer planes following a dispute over payment to two lessors.

Deregistration had led to the grounding of these aircraft which were finally taken back by the leasing firms -- UK-based GE Capital Aviation Service Ltd and Celestial Aviation Trading.

The DGCA move had come in the wake of a long-drawn court battle in the UK and India between the airline and the leasing companies.

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