Kingfisher cancels orders for three A340s


Hyderabad : Private domestic carrier Kingfisher Airlines has cancelled orders for three Airbus A-340 aircraft, a top Airbus official said here Thursday.

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Airbus chief operating officer (customers) John Leahy told reporters his company held talks with Kingfisher on the issue. This was the only cancellation from India, he said.

Asked if Kingfisher was deferring deliveries of A-320s, he said: “There is nothing new in it.”

Kingfisher, which announced a cost-saving alliance with Jet Airways this week, has deferred deliveries of 32 narrow-bodied A-320 aircraft.

Leahy said India remained a key market for Airbus despite the slowdown. Airbus forecast that India would be the fastest growing country for air travel for the next decade. The growth rate is expected to be 9.7 percent against the average global growth rate of 5.4 percent.

The company has forecast that India’s aircraft fleet would grow five-fold by 2026. The demand for Indian market over next two decades would be for about 1,000 aircraft worth $120 billion. The largest number 670 will be in single-aisle category.

“Few years from now these numbers might look small as we keep revising our forecast once every two years,” Airbus executive vice-president (sales and marketing) Kiran Rao.

Airbus has strong partnership with seven Indian carriers. Out of 508 orders from India during 2005-07, Airbus account for 68 percent. It has the biggest share (57 percent) of aircraft in India.

Kiran said the number of engineers at Airbus Engineering Centre in Bangalore would go up from 65 to 100 by the end of this year. The number is expected to go up to 400 by 2010.

The CAE Airbus training centre in Bangalore will be opened in February 2009 during the Bangalore air show.