Boeing: Don't Expect Indian Carriers To Defer, Cancel Orders

Date : 03/31/2009 @ 8:26AM
Source : Dow Jones News

Boeing: Don't Expect Indian Carriers To Defer, Cancel Orders

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Boeing Co. (BA) reiterated Tuesday that it doesn't expect any Indian carriers to defer or cancel orders already placed with the U.S. plane maker despite a slowdown in the air travel sector.

Boeing has to deliver 100 planes worth $17 billion to Indian carriers over the next five years, Dinesh Keskar, president of Boeing India said.

"We have had zero cancellations in India" despite the economic downturn, Keskar told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference held to open Boeing's research and technology center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

"We managed our order book and that's why today we are reaping the benefits (of no cancellations)," Keskar said.

Boeing is due to deliver 44 aircraft to flag carrier Air India, while Jet Airways (India) Ltd. (532617.BY) and its low-fare unit JetLite are expected to take delivery of about 35 planes by 2014.

Budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd. (500285.BY) said last month it doesn't plan to defer or cancel any orders and plans to take delivery of nine aircraft from Boeing by March 2012. It will then have a 30-plane strong fleet.

A slowing economy and higher fares induced by oil price have damped demand in the Indian air travel market, forcing several carriers to cut costs via pruning routes, reducing staff and deferring aircraft orders.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (532747.BY) has already been forced to defer taking delivery of 32 of 48 Airbus A320 planes that were due for delivery in late 2008 and in 2009.

"Jet Airways had deferred the delivery of two airplanes last year, but they haven't come back for more (deferrals) since then... SpiceJet is taking delivery of its planes," Keskar added.

In February also, the company had said it didn't expect any order cancellations in India.

Both Kingfisher and Jet Airways are returning planes for which leases have expired and are also leasing out their own planes to foreign carriers.

Keskar said Boeing is "bullish" on India's aviation sector. The company hasn't revised its forecast - made last year - that India will need 1,001 aircraft worth more than $105 billion over the next 20 years.

-By Rumman Ahmed, Dow Jones Newswires; 91-9845104173;

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