India’s Kingfisher Airlines exercised options on another 15 ATR 72-500s yesterday during French President Jacques Chirac’s official visit to the subcontinent. The estimated $270 million deal included options on another 20 airplanes and increased to 35 the number of ATR 72s on which Kingfisher has placed firm orders. Next month Kingfisher starts taking delivery of the first of 20 ATR 72-500s ordered just before last November’s Dubai airshow and scheduled for delivery over a three-year period.
Kingfisher chairman and managing director Vijay Mallya and Avions de Transport Regional chief executive Filippo Bagnato signed the new contract in the presence of the French president, who plans to hold bilateral trade talks with Indian officials over the next three days. Kingfisher expects to use the airplanes to further develop a domestic network linked by four hubs in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. This latest batch of 15 would start to arrive at Kingfisher’s bases next year, at which time ATR will likely have to double the rate at which it delivers airplanes to the Indian carrier.
This latest sale for ATR continues a run of sales success since the start of a 2005 campaign that would see it notch firm orders for 90 airplanes and collect revenues of $542 million. Asia accounted for two thirds of last year’s sales, and 50 of the 61 ATRs ordered in the region came from two major Indian operators–Air Deccan, which ordered 30 ATR 72-500s, and, of course, Kingfisher.
The company projects that within four years Indian carriers will operate 100 ATRs. ATR expects to render a final decision on a dedicated spares and logistics center in New Delhi and training facilities in Mumbai and Bangalore by the first half of this year.