If Spicejet decides to go ahead with a mega-deal with Airbus
to substitute for the 737 MAX deal, it could push Boeing further to the margins in India’s aviation sector. Of the 696 odd planes of various manufacturers in operation in India, only 187 of them are Boeings.
This includes the 14 Boeings operated by the Indian Air Force. Airbus, in comparison, has over 400 planes in Indian skies – accounting for two-thirds of all operational aircraft in the country. Airbus
order books are booming in India despite problems with the Pratt and Whitney engines on its A320 Neo aircraft.
In October, Indigo announced that it would buy 300 more A320 Neos taking its total fleet strength of such aircraft to 730. India’s aviation regulator Diorector General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered Indigo and Go Air which operate these aircraft with Pratt and Whitney engines to replace then with either updated engines of the same manufacturer or with engines of other manufacturers. To cut its troubles short, Indigo decided earlier this year that it would be using engines manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture between France based Safran SA and US based General Electric. Similarly GoAir reportedly has 144 A320 Neos on order.
Spicejet was the biggest operator of Boeing planes in India – with all of its narrow bodied fleet comprised of Boeing planes. Air India, the second biggest operator of Boeing planes, has put any fleet acquisition plans on hold with the impending disinvestment of India’s national carrier. With Boeing’s decision to suspend production and most new orders from India going to Airbus, American made planes could well be a rare sight in India’s skies.