Hyderabad: Private domestic carrier Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways, who entered into an operational alliance, early this week have both either cancelled or deferred orders and deliveries for aircraft. Kingfisher has cancelled deliveries of three Airbus A-340 aircraft, a top Airbus official said here Thursday.
Airbus chief operating officer (customers) John Leahy told reporters his company has held talks with Kingfisher on the issue. Hr stressed that this was the only cancellation from India.
Asked about reports that Kingfisher had also deferred deliveries of 32 narrow-bodied A-320 aircraft, Leahy said: "There is nothing new in it."
Meanwhile, a senior executive from Jet Airways, India's top private domestic carrier, said that the carrier was also considering returning some of its leased aircraft faced with a decline in demand.
"We are looking at the possibility of returning some aircraft," chief commercial officer Sudheer Raghavan told the media on Thursday. He said that the carrier was reviewing its fleet requirements given the downturn in the international and domestic business.
According to Leahy, India remained a key market for Airbus despite the slowdown. An Airbus forecast for India says that the country would have the fastest growth in air travel over the next decade, which is expected to be 9.7 per cent against the average global growth rate of 5.4 per cent.
The European aircraft manufacturer has also forecast that India's aircraft fleet would grow five-fold by 2026. The demand in the Indian market over next two decades would be for about 1,000 aircraft, of which 670 would be in the single-aisle category.
"Few years from now these numbers might look small as we keep revising our forecast once every two years," said Airbus executive vice-president (sales and marketing) Kiran Rao.
Out of the 508 orders issued from India in the period 2005-07, Airbus accounted for 68 per cent. The manufacturer commands a 57 per cent share of the aircraft market in India.
Rao also said the number of engineers at Airbus Engineering Centre in Bangalore would go up from 65 to 100 by the end of this year and to 400 by 2010. The CAE Airbus training centre in Bangalore will be inaugurated in February 2009 during the upcoming Bangalore air show.