Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways has got the government’s approval to buy 50 new, fuel-efficient Boeing 737 Max planes.
Top sources told HT that the civil aviation ministry’s nod for the multi-billion dollar deal came last week. The 737 Max costs $103.7 million (about `640.87 crore at current exchange rates) at list prices making this a $5-billion-plus deal at sticker prices.Jet, the country’s second largest airline by market share, will be the first Indian carrier to induct the premium 737 Max, which is expected to result in big savings in fuel, in its fleet.
“Jet Airways has been a long-standing Boeing customer and was expected to order B737 Max even though Airbus A320 Neo was seriously evaluated,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, an aviation consultancy.
Both Boeing and Jet have been tightlipped on the deal so far. “The aviation ministry’s nod can be considered as the first official confirmation of the mega deal,” said an expert, who did not wish to be named.
The Jet Airways spokesperson did not respond to email and calls from HT for comments, while a Boeing spokesperson refused to comment. Sources said the 50 planes are to be delivered between 2018 and 2021.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has picked a 24% stake in Jet, India’s largest publicly listed airline. The `2,058-crore Jet-Etihad investment deal is the biggest foreign direct investment in the aviation sector since the government changed rules to allow foreign carriers pick up stakes in Indian airlines.