India's Jet Airways Could Be Eyeing The Airbus A220


Ahead of its upcoming relaunch later this year, Jet Airways is already looking to expand its fleet. As reported by Bloomberg, the Indian Airline is set to green-light a $5.5 billion aircraft order with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus for its A320neo and A220 narrowbody jets.

Growing popularity

Formerly India’s largest private airline, Jet Airways ceased operations in 2019 after a surge of low-cost carriers pushed it out of the market. However, three years down the line, the airline is back from the brink and ready to restart operations with a new, modernized image updated for “the digital age” – and it appears its fleet could be the first to get that upgrade.


The newly rebuilt Jet Airways has put a contemporary focus on its rebranding, focusing much of its marketing on social media. Photo: Getty Images

Currently, the airline has six jets in its inventory – two Airbus A330-200, three Boeing 737-800, and one 737-900, with an average fleet age of 16 years; though an extensive expansion is required if it plans to rebuild its previous network.

Talks have also been in the works with Boeing and Embraer, manufacturers of the competitor 737 MAX and E2 family jets respectively, though Airbus has appeared as the front-runner for the deal valued at $5.5 billion list price.

“We are in final negotiations with lessors and OEMs for aircraft, and we will announce our aircraft choice and fleet plan once we have made a decision. We are studying all possibilities to find the one that works best for us,” an airline spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Airbus does seem to hold popular opinion with the public; last week, the airline teased the decision with its Twitter followers, posting a poll asking which aircraft should be next to join its fleet. The Airbus A320neo family scooped up 47% of the vote, with the 737 MAX series lagging at just over 32%.

Airbus’ narrowbody offerings have proven a firm choice for Indian airlines, notably low-cost carrier IndiGo, which operates the world’s largest fleet of A320neo family jets. Almost 200 of the type are currently in operation with the airline, with 538 orders still outstanding. A range of A320 and A321s also serve in the fleets of Go First, Vistara, and flag-carrier Air India.

In for the long-haul

Jet Airways’ fleet development is not being taken lightly by airline bosses, with Chief Executive Sanjiv Kapoor noting that long-term perspectives over short-term availability would drive its final choice for aircraft, showing a firm commitment to the future of the airline.

The carrier is set to revamp its business model, moving to a “hybrid-style” airline strategy to keep it competitive with regional low-cost carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet while retaining its full-service operations through a two-class offering.

“It’s very difficult in the domestic Indian market to take on the cost of the food and everything else in economy class, where the customer in India chooses primarily on the basis of fares,” Kapoor told The India Times back in April. “Let’s just accept that and let’s not burden ourselves with extra cost.”

While a formal relaunch date has yet to be announced, the airline is expected to resume operations later this year following its recertification last month.

What are your thoughts on Jet Airways’ upcoming relaunch? What aircraft would you like to see join its fleet? Let us know in the comments.

Sources: Bloomberg, The India Times


Source link