Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Air India, Jet Airways to Lease 35 Airbus Planes

NEW DELHI -- Air India and Jet Airways India Ltd. have agreed to lease 35 planes of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV's Airbus from leasing companies.

Flag carrier Air India has decided to lease 10 A330 planes and 15 A320s, Airbus said inside a statement late Monday. Jet Airways, India's biggest carrier by industry share, will lease 10 A330s.

Airbus said the 25 planes that Air India plans to eat on lease have a list acquisition cost of $3.1 billion, while the 10 planes chosen by Jet Airways have a list acquisition cost of $1.9 billion.

A spokesman for Airbus said the deals are, however, possibly being done directly on the leasing firms and are unlikely to give new firm to Airbus.

"The carriers will choose an engine supplier and also a leasing business during the near future," Airbus said.

Indian carriers have started to eat new planes on lease or order new aircraft as demand for air travel rebounds during the global economic slowdown of 2008 and early 2009. Budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd. last month ordered 30 turboprop aircraft from Canada's Bombardier Inc. for $900 million, adding to a $2.7 billion order for 30 Boeing Co.'s 737-800 planes placed in July. An additional budget airline IndiGo has received government approval to buy 150 Airbus planes.

Ragini Chopra, a spokeswoman for Mumbai-based Jet, said the airline is planning to eat the 10 A330s on lease to expand its international operations.

"We are in talks with numerous leasing firms for your aircraft," she said, but declined to elaborate.

The first two A330s are going to be leased among January and June 2011, while the sleep are going to be leased in 2012 for use on long-haul routes, said another Jet Airways executive, who declined being named.

"We are finalising our international expansion plans," the executive said. "We think demand is rising and this really is the proper time to deploy additional capacity."

Jet has already leased four ATR turboprop planes during the aircraft-leasing arm of U.K.-based Investec PLC. A couple of additional ATRs will join the fleet next month.

Air India executives weren't promptly accessible for comment.


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