Jet Airways to add 49 aircraft over 5 years

Monday, 17 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MUMBAI: A day after low-cost airline IndiGo made history by placing $15-billion order with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to purchase 180 aircraft, rival Jet Airways said it will add 49 aircraft over the next three to five years.

“New aircraft will be added from the next financial year,” said Naresh Goyal , chairman, Jet Airways on the sidelines of a conference in Mumbai.

Mr Goyal, however, cautioned that raising funds for execution of huge orders may be the real challenge.”In the current market environment, it is easy to place orders but what is important is to fund these orders and also the availability of pilots is a key concern” he said.

Mr Goyal said Jet’s expansion will be done based on market opportunities and the airliner will not go about ‘adding aircraft blindly.’

With the airline business now generating cash for Jet, it is not looking for funds actively and is hopeful that the FIPB clearance for raising up to $400 million will soon happen.

“We have converted over 2,000 crore loans to US dollar loans resulting in savings on interest costs of up to 140 crore annually,” said K G Vishwanath, vice-president, commercial strategy and investor relations. The airliner has a debt of 13,000 crore of which 3,000 crore is non-aircraft loans.

India’s largest airline by market share has given its major chunk of orders to American aircraft maker Boeing which is locked in a teething battle with rival Airbus in India.

Jet Airways has not made any fresh orders. Of the planes to be added, Jet has deliveries pending for 10 Boeing 787s, the latest aircraft from US manufacturer Boeing’s new product line. It will also add 29 Boeing 737s along with 10 Airbus A330s.

“Jet’s order has been on the books for a while now and the deliveries will be beginning from now till 2014. We will soon give the details of the delivery schedule for the 787s to the airline,” said Dinesh Keskar , president, Boeing.

Jet Airways’ board had approved leasing of 10 Airbus A330s (the wide body which can fly long haul international routes) earlier. But the airliner has not been given any firm delivery dates by Boeing for its 787 order till now.