SpiceJet looking to purchase Airbus A330neo
Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet is reportedly holding discussions with Airbus to purchase the A330neo in order to perform future long-haul international flights to key destinations such as Europe.
Earlier this month, a team of six of Airbus’ top executives travelled to Gurugram, near Delhi, which is where the headquarters of SpiceJet is located. This is the second time that Airbus has sent their people down to the airline for talks according to people familiar with the situation.
No information has been released by Airbus or the airline about how many aircraft are being looked at or what model the order would consist of. Both of the companies have declined to comment when questioned by media outlets.
The A330neo comes in two variants: The A330-800 and A330-900 – both of which are intended to build on the success of the current A330. It was only the other day that Airbus received EASA certification for the A330-900, which is set to enter service with TAP Portugal in October. You can read about that here. 2018 Airbus list prices indicate the A330-800 starting at USD$260 million and the A330-900 at USD$296 million.
For a while now, SpiceJet has been pondering the idea of flying long-haul to big destinations such as Europe. The discussions between the airline and Airbus indicate they are nearing a potential announcement, not just for aircraft but for future fleet development and routes.
SpiceJet has a fleet consisting of 37 Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft and 24 Bombardier Q400s. 155 737 MAXs as well as a further 24 Q400 NGs are on order. It’s worth noting that that the airline has purchase rights for an additional 50 Boeing aircraft that it can convert to the 787 Dreamliner, which rivals the A330 family.
Recently it was announced that IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, plans to purchase as many as 50 A330neo family aircraft. IndiGo is also developing plans for long-haul operations. Initially the 787 and A350 were on the table but have since been dropped for the A330neo according to people involved in the situation.
The large backlog of the 787 is likely a contributing factor to these decisions and discussions. It’s a great aircraft but it can’t be reached for many airlines within the next few years unless delivery slots open up or production is increased. The A330neo with its small backlog and commonality with the A320 family allows airlines to acquire of the jet quickly and easily.
As always, time will tell which airline goes for what and if these discussions are as detailed as they are outlined to be.