Indian low-fare airline GoAir inked a deal yesterday with Airbus for 10 CFM-powered A320-family jets and an option for another 10. The purchase agreement would see the Mumbai-based startup take the first of the airplanes “early next year,” GoAir managing director Jeh Wadia said here yesterday. All will come equipped with an all-economy, 180-seat cabin layout. Further deliveries could consist of a still undetermined mix of A319s, A320s and A321s, said Wadia, who projected his fleet would reach eight aircraft by this October, 14 to 18 by next October and 30 by October 2008.
In business since last November, GoAir flies its pair of leased A320s to 13 cities in India. Despite an infrastructure deficit and pilot shortage issues, the airline claims it has posted a 97-percent on-time departure rate. Before the signing ceremony Wadia said GoAir recruits expatriate captains to staff his fleet, but that he expects to see more Indian pilots begin to filter into the system once training capacity reaches critical levels. He also predicted that airport and related projects will largely solve the infrastructure problems within one and a half to two years.
Backed by India’s 250-year-old Wadia business dynasty, GoAir has entered talks with several individuals and equity funds to invest in the airline, including recently appointed board member BPL Mobile’s Rajeev Chandrashekhar.