posted at 06:50
Author Name: Tommy Wilkes and Tim Hepher
Inside The $40 Billion Jet Buying Spree By Indias Biggest Airline
REUTERS/Vivek PrakashAn IndiGo Airlines A320 aircraft is parked on the tarmac at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad March 7, 2012.NEW DELHI/PARIS - Almost four years ago a handful of people gathered in Airbus sales chief John Leahy's spacious country house outside Toulouse and argued long into the evening over curry and cigars. The sum total of money discussed over these meals? About $40 billion at catalogue prices, and the bill was for 430 jets, all sold to the same Indian airline - IndiGo, the low-cost carrier which has grown to become the country's biggest airline in eight years of operating. The largest order in India's aviation history is IndiGo's most aggressive bet yet that Indian air travel is on the cusp of a huge expansion, and that the model that made it the nation's only profitable carrier will keep working as competition intensifies. Few airlines have translated that optimism into new orders on the scale of IndiGo's since most are losing money. "People are too focused on India's negatives. IndiGo is aware of the challenges and it is adept at steering itself around them. That is how it became India's largest carrier," said one source familiar with the airline's thinking. REUTERS/Vivek PrakasAn IndiGo Airlines A320 aircraft is parked on the tarmac at Bengaluru International Airport in Bangalore March 7, 2012. An end to the era of cheap borrowing to finance its plane orders would raise its costs, and should India's fragile economic recovery wilt IndiGo would be left facing delivery of 250 Airbus planes from 2018 that it would struggle to fill. AirAsia India did not respond to requests for comment on IndiGo.

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