European aviation giant Airbus rues missing out on the SpiceJet order and hopes that the premium A320 Neo (new-engine option) would help woo India’s second largest low-cost carrier to its fold. SpiceJet has an all-Boeing fleet.
“All low-cost airlines chose Airbus except SpiceJet. It’s a pity. We did meet them recently,” Kiran Rao, president, Airbus (India) told Hindustan Times. Rao said that having started with B737 SpiceJet would probably stay with Boeing for the short-term.
“But once the A320 Neo starts, it is so powerful against B737 or B737 MAX, that any airline should take time to look at what we have to offer because what we are offering in the Neo is going to be so powerful especially in a country where fuel prices are so high,” he said.
SpiceJet did not offer comments for the story.
The order sheet for Neo’s has already crossed 1,200 within less than a year of Airbus announcing the new variant to the A320 family.
“Neither the Neo or the MAX are real yet so no one has any proof which is better than the other,” said Saj Ahmad, a London-based aviation analyst.
“The problem for Airbus is that the A320 Neo has sold so well, they probably don’t have early enough slots for SpiceJet. The reality is that the A320 Neo and the B737 MAX have not snatched customers from each other’s base and its likely that whoever operates an A320 today, is likely to pick the A320 Neo tomorrow. The same applies for the B737 and the B737 MAX,” he said.
“The only exception to this will be where an airline has a smaller fleet that can then be rolled over to something else if the financial outlay and benefits proves worthwhile,” Ahmad said.