India's GoAir could acquire regional aircraft

Mumbai
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GoAir is looking to add more Airbus A320s and could potentially evaluate regional aircraft that may open up tier II and III cities to its network.

The low-cost carrier has 14 A320s and will add another seven by July 2014. This will allow it to embark on a "relatively moderate" fleet growth plan until 2016, when the first of the 72 A320neos that it has on order are scheduled to arrive, says chief executive Giorgio de Roni.

Before that, however, it may add a handful of A320s to replace its older narrowbodies and if it spots some growth markets where it could add capacity, he adds on the sidelines of Routes Asia 2013.

"We are evaluating the opportunities to add more A320s. The focus is on keeping the fleet as young as possible and this year, for example, we will be phasing out two of our older aircraft. So we may need to go for more A320s," he says.

Regional aircraft could be a possibility as the airline considers how it can tap on the "tremendous growth in traffic" between India's secondary cities and its main metros. These smaller aircraft would fit the cities where the airports have runway restrictions on A320s, he adds.

While adding a new type of aircraft will increase costs and add complexity to the business, the airline will be able to take advantage of the lower taxes and landing charges on aircraft that have a lower maximum take-off weight of 40t, he says.

"Diversifying the fleet can increase the costs but there are some non-metro stations that have a lot of demand that we can meet with a different type of aircraft. We are evaluating the options, but we do not expect to make a decision soon," says de Roni.