European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is in talks with state-run carrier Air-India for buying 10-12 Airbus A380 superjumbos for its fleet, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said on Tuesday.
“Airbus is in talks with Air India. We hope to have Air-India in the A380 programme. If Air India decides to go for the aircraft we will be able to supply the aircraft by 2011-12,” Leahy said at a Press conference.
However, when contacted, Air-India spokesperson was non-committal on the issue and said, “We have a team working on our future requirements. The team will review our requirements after future projections are made. There after the proposal will go to the Air-India board for approval and will then be sent to government for approval.”
The A-380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft, capable of carrying up to 850 passengers in a single class configuration, and can fly non-stop between Delhi-New York.
Air-India has ordered 111 aircraft of which 68 are Boeing aircraft.
Among the other Indian carriers, Kingfisher Airline is the only airline to have ordered five A-380 aircraft till date.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders, said India was not only an important market but also one of the fastest growing markets for the aircraft manufacturer.
Airbus has sold 65 aircraft to different airlines in India and a total of 348 in the last decade.
Addressing the media, Airbus India president Kiran Rao said that India would require at least 1,100 aircraft during the next 20 years valued at around $ 105 billion. “We expect to continue to hold a market share of at least 70 per cent in India as we have today,” Rao said.
Rao said the airline has set up a design center in Bangalore with a staff strength of 30 engineers which would go up to 250 by 2010. “The design center is working on aerodynamics and design structures for the Airbus Industrie. It would in the years to come be a major designing center for the US,” he added.
Airbus, is in the process of investing $ 600 million as part of offset projects in India and hopes to generate revenues of about $ 1 billion from them by 2020, Rao said.