Boeing to Cash in on Desi Carriers’ Fleet Renewal Plan

Aircraft maker Boeing is eyeing large Indian sales opportunities as many Indian private carriers are looking for fleet modernisation. Banking on the slow yet steady revival of the economy to boost sales, the aircraft maker said that carriers like Air India and SpiceJet are on ‘fleet renewal mode’. State-owned carrier Air India is in internal discussion to convert the last order of the 787-800 into 787-900. Boeing delivered the 19th Dreamliner 787 to the national carrier earlier this week, Mr Dinesh Keskar, Vice President, Asia-Pacific & India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes told Express. The 787-900 has 40 seats more. “Dreamliner delivery is happening on time,” Mr Keskar said adding they are constantly in talks with clients on fleet renewal. The company is looking at Jet Airways and AI for their 737 Max. “We are in talks with Jet who are looking to replace the 70 737 aircraft in their fleet,” Keskar said. But mounting losses in Indian carriers have affected fresh orders or cancelled existing orders in the past. Cash crunch at the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines saw the cancellation of 10 Airbus A380 jumbo aircraft in 2014. Kingfisher’s licence expired on December 31, 2012 and the specified time period for renewal also expired on December 31, 2014. Boeing nearly faced a similar situation when low cost carrier SpiceJet was in risk of being grounded after want of funds to clear dues had triggered panic in the industry and within the ranks of the company. “Mr Keskar said that there are many airline operators who are also looking to ‘crossover’ from their existing fleet to new ones, and  added that the fuel efficiency provided by its airline proved to be a major cost advantage. But Boeing’s main competitor Airbus has also launched new models of aircraft with better cost efficiency and are also looking to capitalise on the Indian market.

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