June 03, 2007

Mallya to place $1 bn order at Paris Air Show

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who acquired 26 per cent stake in the country’s largest budget carrier, Air Deccan, for Rs 550 crore on May 31, is still in high spirits.

The Mallya-promoted full service airline, Kingfisher Airlines, is all set to place an order for at least five wide-bodied Airbus aircraft at an estimated value of $1 billion for its international operations.

Sources close to the development said Kingfisher Airlines might opt for the world’s longest commercial passenger aircraft in operation, the Airbus A340-600, which has a seating capacity between 380 and 419 seats.

The estimated price of an A340-600 variant is over $200 million. This aircraft has a 75.3 metre overall length, while the A380 — the world’s largest airplane — is 73 metres. Kingfisher had earlier placed orders for five A380s, with an option for five more.

Besides five A380s, Kingfisher Airlines had placed orders for five A350-800s, five A340-500s and five A330s. These wide-bodied aircraft are meant for long-haul non-stop flights as well as for short-haul international services.

“Mallya, the chairman and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, is expected to make an announcement in this regard at the International Paris Air Show scheduled to be held between June 18 and 21,” sources told Business Standard.

When asked about further orders, Mallya said, “We always reserve some news for the Paris Air Show. Wait till then.”

Sources said that post-Air Deccan acquisition, Kingfisher Airlines was planning to position itself as an international carrier and is planning to acquire more wide-bodied aircraft.

“The airline is currently reviewing the fleet structure so as to include more bigger aircraft. Kingfisher would focus more on the international routes while Air Deccan will give it a wider domestic reach as it has over 350 flights covering 65 airports,” sources said.

Read more of this article's at: www.business-standard.com

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