Boeing will do 'whatever it takes' to retain SpiceJet custom

American aircraft maker Boeing said today it will do ''whatever it takes'' to ensure that Indian carrier SpiceJet places its next big order with it.

''We will do everything it takes to keep them. We will see how it plays out ...,'' Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India, said.

''It's the prerogative of the customer what they do but he (SpiceJet promoter AjaySingh) should know how loyal we have been to him,'' added Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Boeing.

Kumar said that the non-availability of planes was a key reason why talks with India's new airline Vistara could not proceed. ''All slots are sold out, especially of the B737s. They wanted to start a new airline and were looking for availability in the time frame and we didn't have,'' he said.

SpiceJet is set to place an order for around 100 jets, worth about $11 billion at list prices. While the budget carrier also operates a mixed fleet of Boeing 737s and Q400s, it has been a Boeing customer since its launch in 2005. SpiceJet has, however, stated that it is in talks with both Boeing and arch-rival Airbus for the mega aircraft order.

While IndiGo and GoAir have an all-Airbus fleet, Jet Airways and Air India operate a mixed fleet. Both start-ups, Vistara and AirAsia India, have opted for Airbus.