As Airbus bagged the largest single-firm order for large jets in commercial aviation history, its France-based president of India operations and executive vice president (marketing and contacts) Kiran Rao spoke to HT on phone from France. Exerpts:
What does this deal mean to you in terms of your roadmap?
Airbus has had a very old and important relationship with India that dates back to the 1970’s and we have built that through the 80’s and 90’s where we were the dominant player in India with a market share of around 70%. This deal would increase our Indian market share to around 75-80%. India is an extremely important market for us.
What is the deal size? Is it based on a buy and lease back model?
There are many financing model available and this going to be a direct purchase. India is going to buy over a thousand planes over the next 20 years and this is a very pessimist number because the demand is increasing and the government has done a lot in terms of infrastructure projects, highways, flyovers, airports, which would lead to an increase in demand for travel. The deal is valued at around $ 15.6 billion and is the largest single firm order number for large jets in commercial aviation history.
Does the deal mark a return of boom in India’s aviation industry?
A lot of orders were placed in 2005. As the first batch of deliveries is getting over the environment has improved. This deal marks the second round.
Will Airbus be able to deliver as per schedule considering the fact that it has faltered on deliveries in the past?
That’s not really been the case and we have met our delivery schedules. There are customer issues and we work closely with them. We have a very close relationship with or customers and there have never been any major problems.
Is the A320 neo-series specific for the low cost biz strategy?
The aircraft incorporates new more efficient engines and is designed with specific characteristics to help the environment, reduce pollution, save fuel and reduced engine noise.