Privately owned Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines is announcing at Dubai an order for 20 ATR 72-500 turboprops and 30 additional Airbus A320 family aircraft.
“We evaluated several scenarios and aircraft types – in the end it came down to EADS. They put in a very compelling argument for A320s and ATR [and] we had a combined offer from EADS group,” says Kingfisher’s chief operating officer Nigel Harwood. EADS owns 80% of Airbus and is a 50% shareholder in ATR alongside Finmeccanica.
Harwood says the carrier chose the ATR 72 because ATR offered “the best in-country support”. Kingfisher’s technical analysis determined the aircraft offered the lowest operating costs and fuel consumption.
The 20 ATR 72-500s will be delivered between March 2006 and August 2008, and the deal is worth $350 million, excluding the options Kingfisher is taking for 15 additional aircraft.
Kingfisher intends to become the first airline to install in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems on its ATR 72s, says Harwood. The carrier’s A320s are equipped with Thales IFE units, which “have proved to be a huge hit since the launch in May 2005”.
Kingfisher currently has seven A320s in service and will take delivery of three A319s between December and January.
The carrier has another seven A320s on order. At Dubai this week the airline is placing an additional order for 30 A320 family aircraft. These are scheduled to be delivered over four years, starting in January 2008.
Harwood says the twinjets will support Kingfisher’s rapid expansion and help it to achieve the goal set by the airline’s chairman, Dr Vijay Mallya, of becoming India’s largest private carrier.
Source: Flight International