London: Indian budget airline SpiceJet Ltd has begun an order contest between Boeing Co. and Airbus SE for wide-body aircraft, in the strongest indication yet that it will go ahead with a move into discount long-distance flights.
The carrier is evaluating the US manufacturer’s biggest 787-10 Dreamliner together with Airbus’s A350-1000, Ajay Singh, its chairman, told Bloomberg in London on Thursday.
SpiceJet is considering the introduction of flights to more distant markets, including Europe, but needs Boeing and Airbus to come up with proposals to minimize costs, Singh said in an interview at the 2017 Aviation Festival. The carrier’s jetliner order book is limited to 175 Boeing 737 narrow-body planes.
India has the potential to be a “tremendous’" long-haul market, “if you can work out the math and bring down the cost," Singh said. While the nation of 1.3 billion people is the world’s fastest growing aviation market, expanding at a 20% annual clip, it also remains “incredibly price sensitive," he said.
SpiceJet, based in Gurgaon near New Delhi, has purchase rights for 50 more Boeing aircraft of unspecified type. It could use some of those options if it chooses to buy the 787, according to Singh, who said he’s also looking for measures to maximize efficiency.
The airline co-founder said it’s still too early to comment on the size of a potential order or specific routes it’s eyeing for the long-haul operation. The move would put SpiceJet a step ahead of bigger Indian rival Indigo, which has said it’s exploring a move into the discount long-haul segment. Bloomberg