3 Min Read
CANCUN, Mexico/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Jet Airways Ltd, India's biggest full service carrier by market share, is in talks to buy 75 single aisle aircraft with an option to purchase another 75, two people familiar with the plan said on Monday.
Jet Airways, part owned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, is likely to consider placing an order for either Boeing's 737 MAX planes or aircraft from Airbus SE's A320neo family, the sources said.
The airline continuously reviews the composition and deployment of its fleet in response to demand trends as well as other economic and market forces, Jet Airways said in an emailed statement.
An Airbus spokesman said the company did not comment on talks with customers that may or may not be happening. A Boeing spokeswoman said the company is in constant communication with the airlines in India about their current and future fleet needs but does not discuss specific conversations publicly.
Jet Airways' expansion plans come at a time when other airlines in India have hundreds of aircraft on order as they look to tap into a market growing by 20 percent-plus a year thanks to rising incomes and low cost fares.
Airlines including Interglobe Aviation's IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir have a combined 880 aircraft on order while AirAsia India said in February it planned to grow its fleet to 20 aircraft by mid-2018 from eight planes.
Vistara, owned by India's Tata group and Singapore Airlines, could order 50 narrow-body and 50 wide-body aircraft this year, according to estimates by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
This would result in India's order book, dominated by narrow-body aircraft, becoming the third-largest in the world after the United States and China, according to CAPA.
India's domestic passenger numbers topped 100 million last year, with most of the growth involving flights into and out of the biggest cities.
Jet Airways reported a 67 percent slump in net profit for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, hurt by higher aircraft fuel expenses. (bit.ly/2rQJ2KF)
The Indian carrier has an existing order for 75 737 MAX aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2023 and will mostly be used for replacement, according to CAPA.
Writing by Aditi Shah; Editing by Mark Potter and Adrian Croft