Indian carrier studies fleet options as it aims to expand international operations

India’s Jet Airways is “seriously studying” future orders for the ultra-large Airbus A380 as well as the A350 or Boeing 787.

Chairman and majority owner Naresh Goyal says in an interview with Flight International sister publication Airline Business that all the new aircraft types are of interest to the airline. While no orders are considered imminent, all are being looked at closely as Jet expands its fledgling international operations.

“We are seriously studying the A380 and we are seriously studying the 787 and A350,” Goyal says.

“We want to go slow [in ordering more aircraft], but we are studying the A380 because we all know that the costs will keep going up and the fares will keep coming down.”

Only one airline in India, recently launched Kingfisher, has ordered the A380 to date, but Airbus expects strong demand from the country’s carriers in future as the air travel market grows at rates well above the world average.

Jet has grown rapidly since its establishment in the early 1990s and now operates more than 50 737s, ATR turboprops and recently added A340-300Es. It was exclusively a domestic operator until last year, when it was approved for services to Colombo in Sri Lanka. The airline now also serves Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, London and Singapore, and has plans to serve many more medium- and long-haul destinations over the next five years.

Jet has 10 777-300ERs on order, plus 10 options that can be converted into those for ultra-long-range 777-200LRs, as well as 10 A330s and 10 options, in addition to lease orders on A330s. It plans to add three more leased 737-800s to its domestic fleet over the next year and has 10 more 737-800s on firm order with Boeing.

Jet originally planned to split its firm 777 order between the -200LR and larger -300ER, but Goyal says when it finalised the agreement recently it opted entirely for -300ERs as “we are still studying the economics of the -200LR”. Its 777 deliveries are to begin in 2007, when the purchased A330s also start arriving.

“We will look at the LR in the 10 options,” says Goyal, adding that the original plan was use the 777 for non-stop India-USA services.


Source: Flight International