Boeing keen to sway Tigerair away from Airbus

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With the SilkAir win under its belt, Boeing says it will work hard to convince Tigerair to switch from Airbus A320s to Boeing 737s when the Singapore-based carrier issues a request for proposal (RFP) for new narrowbody jets.

Speaking to Flightglobal in a recent interview, Dinesh Keskar, its vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and India says he believes there are more "market openings" in the region.

"We keep hearing that Tigerair may be coming in for another round of acquisitions and we'll work with them too. Clearly there are more market openings in that side of the world. The growth will continue, there is no doubt about that," says Keskar.

He adds that the larger the airline, such as Tigerair with a good number of aircraft in its fleet, the lower the transition cost to a new aircraft type.

"We clearly feel that if SilkAir has [switched to Boeing], Tigerair will look at it. Tigerair has not released its RFP, so it's a bit early to talk, but certainly any opportunity in Asia, I'm going to fight hard for it," says Keskar.

He adds that the 737 Max also has an advantage over the A320, with some 12 additional seats on the -8, variant lowering its per unit cost.

SilkAir took delivery of its first 737-800 this week, beginning its transition to an all Boeing fleet. The carrier, which has six Airbus A319s and 18 A320s in its fleet, ordered 54 737s, including 31 Max 8s in 2012.

"On Tiger, I'm a salesman, I'm opportunistic. Anytime you give me an opportunity and i'll do my best to prove, and i truly believe that the Max has unbelievable potential," says Keskar.

The Tigerair group currently operates 51 Airbus A320 family aircraft, and has a further 17 on order. Those aircraft will be delivered through to its 2016 financial year.