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As Indian traffic picks up, Boeing sees revival in orders this year

As Indian traffic picks up, Boeing sees revival in orders this year
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First Published: Wed, Jul 21 2010. 12 51 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 21 2010. 12 51 AM IST
Farnborough, UK: US-based aircraft maker Boeing Co. expects new orders from Indian carriers in the second half of 2010 as the passenger market expands and more local airlines start flying international routes.
The company is also expecting changes to its existing order book from Air India and Jet Airways (India) Ltd as these carriers expand operations.
Click here To view exclusive pictures of the Boeing Dreamliner from Farnborough
“I have always said there would be some orders next year in keeping with the true potential of India,” Boeing India chairman Dinesh Keskar said on the sidelines of an air show. “And in some instances, depending on the lead time issues, some (orders) could be this year.”
Keskar did not specify if some of the orders would be from SpiceJet Ltd, which has recently been taken over by Kalanithi Maran, but indicated that most other carriers in India that use a Boeing fleet already have healthy orders in place.
“As they define the plans, we will be there to help them,” he said, referring to SpiceJet, which flies 21 Boeing 737 aircraft and is now also going international.
The low-cost carrier will induct just over half a dozen more planes till 2012, according to its current plans.
Indian airlines registered a passenger growth of about 22% in the first half of 2010 on the back of an economic recovery, leaving behind a sluggish 7% growth last year.
As many as 25.71 million passengers travelled on domestic carriers between January and June, compared with 21.09 million in the same time last year, a rise of 21.9%.
The growth in passenger numbers remained above 20% in the past six months, barring February, a typically lean period, data released by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed.
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said in a report earlier this month that Indian airlines will soon start ordering aircraft for fleet expansion.
“IndiGo is looking to acquire up to 150 aircraft, SpiceJet 47 aircraft, and Air India is planning to lease 10 A330s as well as several A320s and ATRs. Some of these orders may even be announced at Farnborough later this month,” it said.
Jet Airways, India’s largest private carrier, is also in talks with Boeing to change an existing order for 10 787-8 Dreamliners placed in 2006, then valued at $1.5 billion (Rs7,065 crore today).
The airline is considering buying the stretched version of Dreamliner, also called the Dreamliner 787-9, which will only start flying in 2013.
Jet Airways’ deliveries of Dreamliners were initially scheduled to begin in 2011 and are currently slated for 2014, but could change if the order type is changed.
A stretched version of Dreamliner, the 787-9 provides seating for 250-290 passengers, compared with 787-8’s 201-250. The 787-9 can also fly longer distances.
Air India is expected to take delivery of the first of its 27 Dreamliners next year.
“We are working very closely with Air India for readiness, as it is a highly technical airplane and there is a lot of new technology,” Keskar said.
“Pilot training will start a few weeks before the delivery and a new simulator for Dreamliner will soon be established for Air India in Mumbai,” he added.
Air India has deferred three of its Boeing 777 deliveries out of the total 23. “We have already deferred three 777s and whether they will remain 777s or will they be converted to something else, we will see at a later date.” Keskar said.
tarun.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Wed, Jul 21 2010. 12 51 AM IST