Special Correspondent

Talks on with private carriers to sell more aircraft

NEW DELHI: With the mega Air India deal worth $11 billion for 68 passenger aircraft already in its kitty, the U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing is keen to sell its products in India and launched negotiations with new and upcoming private airlines.

Boeing's Senior Vice President (Sales), Dinesh Keskar, told reporters here on Friday that the company was in talks with private carriers such as Jet Airways and SpiceJet which have an all-Boeing fleet and were keen on expansion.

He said SpiceJet was scheduled to get the delivery of its first new generation Boeing 737-800 from the company in Seattle in the first week of February.

Referring to the Air India deal, Mr. Keskar said deliveries would begin in November this year.

In 2005, total firm Indian orders for Boeing were worth $15 billion. These included Air India's orders, 20 aircraft by Jet Airways, ten by SpiceJet and three Boeing Business Jets by the Indian Air Force for VVIP travel. Boeing was working to implement its commitments to invest in a regional MRO (maintenance, repairs and overhaul) and a pilot training facility in the country.

While the investment in MRO would be around $100 million, the pilot training facility would cost $75 million and another $10 million would be pumped in for maintenance engineering training facilities, which could also be used to train pilots for fog operations under Category III B stipulations.

Mr. Keskar said Boeing was handing over several aircraft works to Indian companies, including drawing digitisation of 747s to public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), flight control software to HCL and others to Wipro, TCS and Infosys.