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IndiGo Ignites Competition Between Boeing And Airbus For Record-Breaking Jet Orders

IndiGo Ignites Competition Between Boeing And Airbus For Record-Breaking Jet Orders
According to industry sources, Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo is in negotiations with both Boeing and its current supplier Airbus to order more than 500 passenger jets, which could top the record set by domestic rival Air India a few weeks ago.
The largest airline in India has only recently begun purchasing Airbus's narrow-body aircraft, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire claimed last month that IndiGo was close to placing a large order for the European airline.
However, negotiations to keep updating the fleet of the low-cost carrier starting at the end of the decade have also expanded to include mid-sized wide-body aircraft, the sources said, sparking a competition between Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the upgraded Airbus A330neo.
As it considers a sizable new order for narrow-body aircraft, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.-owned IndiGo is also contrasting the A320neo with the Boeing 737 MAX, they added. It was not immediately clear where wide- and narrow-body jets divided.
According to a representative for IndiGo, the airline is constantly in discussions with suppliers as it prepares for its next stage of expansion. We haven't yet finalized anything, though.
Airbus said it is "always in contact with existing and potential customers" but declined to comment further on any discussions. Boeing declined to comment right away.
It is expected that IndiGo, which holds a 55% share of the domestic market, will keep Airbus as its supplier of narrow-body aircraft in order to achieve even greater economies of scale.
It is currently among Airbus's biggest clients and has placed orders for a total of 830 Airbus A320-family planes, 488 of which have not yet been delivered.
However, Indian analysts claim that Airbus will have a harder time winning the wide-body order. By taking a Boeing 777 from codeshare partner Turkish Airlines, which supplies the pilots, IndiGo last month launched its first wide-body flight, departing from its single-aisle strategy.
Despite manufacturers' struggles to meet output targets, efforts by Indian carriers to keep up with the world's fastest-growing aviation market, serving what will soon surpass the largest population, have shattered industry records.
Last month, Tata-owned Air India signed contracts for a record 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing and plans to lease an additional 25 for short-term requirements, bringing the total number of planes acquired to 495.
The CEO of low-cost carrier Akasa Air informed Reuters last month that the company would add a "substantially" large order for new narrowbody aircraft to an existing Boeing 737 MAX order this year.
As Air India completed its own deal, industry publication CAPA reported last month that IndiGo was considering about 500 jets.
Previous airline failures, inadequate infrastructure, and concerns regarding the rights of foreign leasing companies that step in to finance the sales have all hampered Indian aviation.
Despite analysts' warnings that the market might overheat once more, Avolon, one of the biggest lessors with headquarters in Dublin, claims that consolidation and airport improvements have improved the outlook and that India will continue to be a significant source of growth.
Since its inception in 2006, Indigo has operated flights to more than 75 Indian cities, including remote locations in the northeast of the country. Additionally, it offers international service to nearby locations like Dubai, Singapore, Hanoi, and the Maldives. Through its alliance with Turkish Airlines, it is also extending into Europe.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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