In­dian air­line makes large or­der for 250 Air­bus jets

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dian bud­get air­line IndiGo fi­nal­ized an ex­cep­tion­ally large or­der for 250 sin­gle-aisle Air­bus A320neo jets on Mon­day to keep up with rapid growth in the coun­try’s air travel.

IndiGo, In­dia’s largest do­mes­tic air­line, had signed a pre­lim­i­nary or­der last year and firmed it up Mon­day, Air­bus said in a state­ment. The man­u­fac­turer based in Toulouse, France, called it the big­gest or­der by num­ber of jets that it had ever re­ceived.

At list prices, the jets would cost US$26 bil­lion, though cus­tomers usu­ally ne­go­ti­ate dis­counts.

Sev­eral Asian low-cost car­ri­ers are build­ing up fleets amid grow­ing de­mand, and both Air­bus and ri­val Boe­ing Co. have been woo­ing In­dian air­line com­pa­nies.

In­dia is ex­pected to be­come the third largest avi­a­tion mar­ket glob­ally by 2020, with the num­ber of air­line pas­sen­gers tripling to some 450 mil­lion trips per year, as an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class trades up from slow train jour­neys to tak­ing a plane.

IndiGo’s pres­i­dent, Aditya Ghosh, said the or­der would al­low his com­pany to fur­ther de­velop low-cost travel in In­dia and abroad. The com­pany has al­ready taken de­liv­ery of around 100 Air­bus air­craft that were part of an or­der for 180 air­craft worth US$15.6 bil­lion signed in 2011.

De­spite the pro­jected growth, air­lines in In­dia are gen­er­ally un­prof­itable due to high fuel costs and stiff com­pe­ti­tion. Ex­cept for IndiGo, most other air­lines, in­clud­ing state-owned Air In­dia, have been in­cur­ring huge losses and are in fi­nan­cial dis­tress.

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