For the past five years running, Airbus has defeated Boeing in terms of a fatter order book. In 2017, the European aviation firm bagged 1,109 orders compared to the US plane maker’s 912. But this year, Airbus has lost out multiple orders to Boeing, be it Hawaiian Holdings Inc, American Airlines Group Inc or Vistara, in the latest blow.
The big buzz on Sunday was that Vistara, the joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines, was poised to order six Boeing 787s – the most expensive model of the Dreamliner – passing over the A330Neo. If the news reports are correct, this $3.3 billion order will be a big blow to Airbus since India is not only the fastest growing aviation market in the world, but also an increasingly important battleground for plane makers. Last December, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had pointed out that India’s aviation market would surpass the US and China by crossing a billion passenger trips per year in the next 10 to 15 years.
Airbus is favoured to pull in an order for as many as 60 A320Neo jets from Vistara, which will help it to gain a stronger foothold in the Indian market. Sources told the news company that the airline is leaning toward buying the A320Neo jets after a contest with Boeing Co.’s 737 Max model and an announcement is on the cards. Given that the A320Neo has an average list price of about $110 million, the Vistara order will be valued at a whopping $6.6 billion, not including the huge discounts that large aircraft orders typically command.
This order is in line with Vistara’s previously announced international plans. To remind you, in April, the three-year old airline had received its 20th aircraft and CEO Leslie Thng at the time at said that “This is not just another addition to our fleet, but a landmark one that signals Vistara’s arrival on the global map and marks the beginning of our next phase of growth.”
The game plan is to start with short-haul international routes, perhaps in the second half of this year itself. Vistara has reportedly applied for international rights to a number of places in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Bangkok, as well as hotspots like Dubai in the Gulf. All of which are within range of the A320.
If AirAsia gets over its current woes, we can expect more Airbus-Boeing rivalry on Indian shores in the near future.