GoAir invites bids from Airbus and Boeing for planes, plans expansion

Topics GoAir

GoAir has invited bids from Airbus and Boeing for 20 wide body and 200 narrow body planes as it prepares for the next phase of growth.

GoAir has been slow in expansion in comparison to its peers but has grown rapidly in the past two years. It has doubled its fleet to 53 Airbus aircraft and now operates over 325 flights daily. The airline is evaluating various growth plans as it looks to widen its footprint. GoAir invited bids from Airbus and Boeing a month ago, it is learnt. “GoAir does not comment on market speculation,” a spokesperson said. An airline source, however, said discussions were on with plane makers and it was yet to firm up aircraft choice or the order size. 

GoAir has 144 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order, which were booked in two tranches in 2011 and 2016. Currently, its fleet includes 37 A320neo aircraft and the rest consists of conventional A320s. 

Plans of fleet expansion are being worked out ahead of a possible initial public offering by GoAir. The Wadia group-owned airline has been in talks with merchant banks over the past few months but has not formally announced listing plans.

Airbus said it did not comment on delivery schedule or procurement plans of its customer airlines. Boeing said it did not comment on customer discussions. Last year, GoAir's then chief executive officer Cornelis Vrieswijk had hinted at a wide-body order, which would allow the airline to start flights to Europe. GoAir’s current fleet of A320s has a range of six to six-and-an-half hours and now connects eight overseas destinations, including Singapore. 

Last week, Managing Director Jeh Wadia had said the airline would continue with its rapid expansion. “Our plan is to add at least one aircraft on average every month. GoAir has flown 76 million passengers since inception and our aim is to achieve 100 million passengers in the next two years. Our daily flights have grown by 41 per cent to over 325, as compared to 230 daily flights same time last year,” Wadia said in a statement.

GoAir received its first A320neo and its 20th aircraft overall in 2016. Since then the airline has added one aircraft on an average each month. At this rate it would take 7-8 years for the airline to induct all the 144 planes on order. 

“The 16 older A320s will be phased out on completion of their lease terms in next few years. GoAir will have to keep adding planes to grow its market share,” said an expert. GoAir had a market share of 11.8 per cent in domestic market in August and it increased from 8.7 per cent at the start of the year.

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