SpiceJet in talks to buy 100 small jets, 3-bn dollar deal likely

  • Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:56 IST

SpiceJet is in talks to buy around 100 small turboprop aircraft for an estimated $3 billion (about Rs 19,800 crore) at list prices, as the Ajay Singh-led airline plans to make the most of the booming passenger traffic in India’s smaller towns and cities.

SpiceJet, India’s second-largest budget carrier in terms of market share, already operates a fleet of 14 Bombardier Q400 — the 78-seater aircraft — to connect smaller towns with metros.

As first reported by HT on July 29, the Gurgaon-based airline, which has posted two consecutive quarters of profit, is also in talks with Boeing and Airbus for a substantial order for single-aisle jets.

“Yes, we are in talks to place an order for a substantial number of jets. It’s too early to reveal the numbers,” said Ajay Jasra, GM, corporate affairs, SpiceJet, on the turboprop order.

“We will go with whosoever offers the best commercial terms,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.

Sources said the airline is in talks with a couple of aircraft manufacturers, including Bombardier for the turboprop order. As reported by HT on May 29, SpiceJet’s Q400 fleet delivered a profit during the January-March quarter — the first time in four years.

“Smaller towns have witnessed a big jump in passenger traffic, and an order for such large number of small jets would mean there is a long-term business strategy in place. The Q400s are no longer operating on a standalone model for SpiceJet, but in sync with its Boeing flights that have brought in big benefits,” aviation expert Rajji Rai said.

Boeing has projected a demand for 1,740 new airplanes, valued at $240 billion, over the next 20 years in India in its latest forecast.

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