NEW DELHI—India’s low-cost airline SpiceJet plans to buy up to 205 next-generation Boeing planes worth $22 billion in a major deal to expand its domestic and international operations.
A joint statement by the two companies Jan. 13 said the planes booked at the end of 2016 include a fresh order for 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 8s and purchase rights for 50 additional planes. Including 42 of the next-generation 737s already on order and 13 MAXs Boeing originally attributed to an unidentified customer, SpiceJet will buy up to 205 aircraft from the U.S. plane maker.
SpiceJet is India’s fourth-largest airline by number of passengers carried with a market share of 12.9 per cent. It flies more than 300 daily flights to 41 Indian and international destinations.
“The Boeing 737 class of aircraft has been the backbone of our fleet since SpiceJet began (in 2005), with its high reliability, low operation economies and comfort,” said Ajay Singh, SpiceJet chairman and managing director.
Ray Conner, a top Boeing official, said the economics of the 737 MAXs would allow SpiceJet to profitably open new markets, expand connectively within India and beyond.
India’s booming economy and growing middle class have helped to make it the world’s fastest-growing air travel market. The number of passengers grew 20 per cent last year, and airlines are announcing flights to new destinations in the country almost every week. Domestic air passengers are expected to jump from the current 70 million to 300 million by 2022, and to 500 million by 2027.