Thursday, October 03, 2019

SpiceJet to look at Airbus if Boeing disappoints

SpiceJet is in serious discussions with Airbus as it prepares a backup plan in case there is a further delay in the resumption of MAX service. The airline's expansion plan took a hit since March as MAX got grounded worldwide after two fatal accidents involving the multi-million dollar plane within a period of five months.

"SpiceJet has always been in dialogue with Airbus. Now, we are talking with a greater degree of seriousness," Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh told CNBC-TV18 in an exclusive interview.

Singh reiterated that the decision to go with Airbus, when and if be taken, will be a difficult one as the cost of replacing an aircraft model will be quite steep.

"Would look at that depending on what happens with MAX but Airbus continues to be an option on the table," Singh added.

SpiceJet, whose order-book consists of 205 MAX planes including 155 firm orders and 50 options, has been able to induct 32 ex-Jet Airways aircraft since the temporary shutdown of Jet Airways. However, older planes have added to the airline's cost and as it faces challenges of keeping the yields up, the airline is hoping to induct some new MAX planes soon.

"Boeing has indicated that they expect MAX to be certified by FAA by early November. We think we will be able to bring these here by January," Singh said in the interview.

Singh had also recently said that the airline has signed the lease for four Boeing 737 MAX which were earlier operated by Jet Airways India Ltd.

In addition to these four MAX aircraft, 10-12 MAX planes are also ready to be delivered to SpiceJet in the US.
03/10/19 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18
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