India’s biggest domestic carrier Jet Airways (India) Ltd is now planning to actually acquire seven additional wide-body aircraft from US plane maker Boeing Co. by using an option it had on them as part of a 2005 deal that saw it place orders for three B777-300 extra-range (ER) jets.
The three planes are scheduled to be delivered in 2009, but it is unclear when the other planes are being sought.
“These slots under options would (have been) muchmore profitable as they were booked two years ago with Boeing,” said one analyst with a foreign brokerage whodidn’t want to be identified since he is not allowed to comment on record.
When an airline confirms its purchase of aircraft, the manufacturer, through options, allows it to acquire additional aircraft in future at an agreed price within a specified time. The options help the airline to reserve a place in the manufacturing queue for a guaranteed delivery slot, but it is not obliged to purchase those, if future conditions do not justify such acquisitions.
Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal said on Saturday the additional aircraft will help the carrier expand contribution of revenues from international operations to 50% of total income from the current 12-15%.
The seven additional B777 type planes will be used to connect long-haul flights to Europe. Goyal said his airline wants to fly to various international destinations, including Zurich, Milan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Iran.
“Jet Airways is certainly looking for more B777s and we are happy that these products are suiting them well,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice-president of sales, Dinesh A. Keskar said declining further comment.
Boeing recieved 1,413 commercial aircraft orders during 2007, recording more than 1,000 orders for the third consecutive year, and setting a Boeing record for the maximum number of orders in a single year.
Of the 10 new Boeing 777-300 ERs confirmed orders placed by Jet Airways, eight have already been delivered and are operating on routes to the UK and North America from India. The airline has recently exercised an option of five Airbus 330-200s for delivery between October 2009 and the first quarter of 2011.
Jet’s rival airline Kingfisher Airlines Ltd is gearing up to start international routes by using the rights of Deccan Aviation Ltd, in which Kingfisher’s parent UB Group has a controlling stake. For its international operations, Kingfisher is buying bigger Airbus planes such as A340-500, A380 (largest civilian aircraft), A330 and A350s for use on long-range international services.
Jet is replacing its fleet of small planes on profitable international routes with bigger aircraft.
“Jet Airways has upgraded its services with Airbus A330-200 type of wide-body aircraft on Malaysia and Singapore routes in December,” said Sudheer Raghavan, executive vice-president (commercial) of the airline.