Air Sahara to buy 10 new Boeing B737-800 aircraft for $700 million

Mumabi: Low-cost private carrier Air Sahara is buying 10 new B737-800 passenger jets worth more than $700 million from US aerospace giant Boeing. Delivery of the aircraft is due to begin in the middle of 2009.

"This order reflects our confidence both in the growth of India's aviation market and Air Sahara's modernisation and expansion plans," said Alok Sharma, president of Air Sahara.

"We are proud of the long-term relationship we have with Air Sahara," Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of sales for South and Southeast Asia at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in the statement.

The order is Boeing's third major order from India. State-run Air India signed an agreement to buy 68 Boeing airliners with a list price of $11 billion early this year. This was followed by Spicejet, which signed a $1.1 billion sale and lease agreement for new Boeing 737 passenger jets, two weeks ago.

India is now a major market for Boeing and Keskar expects the country to order about 856 new airplanes valued at more than $72 billion by 2026.

Boeing and its European rival Airbus have been competing for the two major aviation markets, India and China, for the past few years.

Air Sahara has a market share of about 8.5 per cent of the booming Indian airline industry with domestic passengers tipped to increase from some 25 million a year to about 50-60 million by 2010.