Boeing Bounces Back at Dubai Show With $9 Billion India Deal
(Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. notched its first major win at the Dubai Airshow after an Indian startup airline said it would order 72 of the U.S. planemaker’s 737 Max jets.
Akasa Air, a Mumbai-based carrier, will begin taking delivery of the Max 8 and Max 8-200 planes starting mid-2022, according to a statement Tuesday. The deal is valued at $9 billion at sticker prices, though discounts are common.
“India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, with an unparalleled potential,” Akasa Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube said. “We are already witnessing a strong recovery in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us.”
With the deal, Boeing gains ground in Dubai after Airbus SE announced more than 400 orders or outline deals, while capturing a bigger slice of an Indian narrow-body market dominated by the European firm. Backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Akasa plans to take on budget carriers including SpiceJet Ltd. and market leader IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.
The purchase also provides another customer for the high-density Max 8-200, a model designed by Boeing for leading client Ryanair Holdings Plc and also ordered by VietJet Aviation JSC.
The plane packs in 200 people, 13 to 20 more than Airbus’s rival A320 model, making it attractive to carriers that want more capacity but don’t need a 240-seater like the European firm’s A321, according to Darren Hulst, Boeing’s vice president for commercial marketing.
“Markets where you have a tremendous amount of city pairs, a lot of density like you have in India, a 200-seater is really versatile for low cost,” Hulst said at the Mideast expo, where Boeing unveiled the order.
Bloomberg News earlier reported that Akasa was in talks with Boeing and could announce a deal in Dubai.
IndiGo is the world’s largest customer for Airbus’s best-selling jets with orders for more than 700 planes, while the Indian affiliates of Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Group Bhd. all use Airbus A320 models. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd. is currently the only Indian customer for the 737 Max, after Jet Airways India Ltd. collapsed due to debt issues in 2019.
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