India appears to have ruled out any early prospect of increased international competition among its airlines. The move will disappoint recent start-up operators looking for a relaxation of current policy that bars Indian carriers with less than five years’ experience from international routes.
ATR landed its biggest sale in recent memory last month when Indian budget airline Air Deccan agreed to take delivery of 30 new 72-seat ATR 72-500s over the next five years. The contract, disclosed during a joint press conference held January 6 in Bangalore, calls for Air Deccan to buy 15 airplanes and lease the other 15. It also calls for delivery of six used airplanes–three ATR 42-500s and three ATR 72-500s.
Flush with a $200 million cash infusion from Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and a $170 million order book, turboprop and VLJ maker Epic Aircraft announced that it is in initial talks with Airbus on a technology- and knowledge-sharing agreement. However, Epic CEO Rick Schrameck backed away from a statement he made on Tuesday that the value of the Airbus alliance would equal or exceed Mallya’s investment in the company.
Flush with a $200 million cash infusion from Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and a $170 million order book, turboprop and very light jet maker Epic Aircraft announced today at the NBAA Convention that it is in initial talks with EADS unit Airbus Industries on a technology- and knowledge-sharing agreement.
Indian executive charter firm Deccan Aviation, based in Bangalore, is evaluating aircraft from Gulfstream, Bombardier and Cessna with a view to adding up to 15 jets to its fleet over the next five years. The firm already has nine helicopters and a pair of Pilatus PC-12 turboprops, but now needs jet equipment to meet rising demand in India’s fast-growing economy.
Airbus’ solid sales showing at this year’s show continued yesterday with Kingfisher Airlines’ announcement that it would take another 30 Airbus A320-family jets starting in 2008. Meanwhile, almost simultaneously back in Toulouse, the company announced a deal with TAP Portugal for 10 A350s and seven A330-200s, scheduled for first deliveries in 2013 and 2007, respectively.
New aircraft orders placed this year from Air India and Indian Airlines should ensure that the government-owned carriers can compete against promising new domestic and international operators on the subcontinent. But strong growth in passenger traffic as well as flights has put increased pressure on congested facilities.
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.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has signed an exclusive five-year agreement with Avions de Transport Regional to maintain engines for Air Deccan’s fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 turboprop aircraft. The two-and-a-half-year-old Air Deccan offers short-haul domestic service in India.
Aviation International News traveled from Delhi to Mumbai for the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) conference on Kingfisher Airlines, because at the time it offered the best schedule and most user-friendly Web site for buying tickets in U.S. dollars using a credit card. We paid $310 (or about INR 12,500) for the round-trip ticket.