Air India chief slams 'unethical' Airbus

11th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

BOMBAY, May 11 (AFP) - Air India on Wednesday hit back at Airbus, saying the European aircraft giant had flouted business ethics when it criticized a decision to award an order for 50 long-range jets to US giant Boeing.

BOMBAY, May 11 (AFP) - Air India on Wednesday hit back at Airbus, saying the European aircraft giant had flouted business ethics when it criticized a decision to award an order for 50 long-range jets to US giant Boeing.  

"It is the buyer who decides on the contract not the seller," Air India managing director V. Thulasidas told reporters.  

"It is Air India's prerogative to see what is right for us and we exercised our prerogative based on our skills in fair and just manner while deciding on the order."  

He said the state-owned Indian airline had written to Airbus executives to say that the company should not have accused Air India of favouring Boeing.  

"We have raised our objections in a letter written to them. We have told them to follow some ethics and desist from such practices," Thulasidas said.  

The board of Air India on April 26 awarded Boeing a USD 7 billion contract for 50 long-range aircraft after a year of intense lobbying by both companies for the deal. The contract remains subject to federal government approval.  

After the contract, Airbus India vice president Nigel Harwood accused the Indian carrier of not treating the European conglomerate fairly while deciding on the contract.  

"We are not disappointed but astonished. We were not given fair and equal treatment," Harwood said after the contract was awarded.  

Air India on Wednesday objected to Harwood's remarks.  

"We have written to Airbus that their representative's remarks are not in accordance with good business practices," Thulasidas said.  

"We however are not considering any legal action against Airbus as of now."   Thulasidas also denied reports that Air India had considered political relations between India and the United States in its decision to go with Boeing.  

"No other political and geo-political consideration dictated our decision," the Air India chief said.  

"The only consideration was what was best for Air India and what made commercial sense to Air India."  

Airbus had said it was denied a chance to offer a wider variety of aircraft choices including the A350 while Boeing was able to sell its B787 Dreamliner which is still under development.  

"We would have liked to consider A350, but it did not exist at that time when the presentations were made by both the aircraft manufacturers," Thulasidas said.  

Air India also clarified that it would continue to consider Airbus for any future fleet expansion.  

"There is no need for Airbus to have apprehensions. The Indian travel business is growing exponentially and we believe we would need more aircraft three years later and Airbus will be considered," Thulasidas said.  

He said the airline board had also referred the deal to the government's Central Vigilance Committee and the Controller of Audit General even before Airbus recommended such a step.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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