India’s Jet likely to order 100 planes for $3.75 billion: CAPA

(Reuters) – Jet Airways (JET.NS) is expected to order more than 100 narrow-body aircraft for up to $3.75 billion in 2012/13 as the largest Indian carrier grabs market share from its troubled rivals, a leading consultancy said.

The airline is understood to be actively evaluating Airbus’s (EAD.PA) narrow-body A320 aircraft, and is likely to lease up to 10 A330s to support expansion of its European network, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said in a report.

“In my estimate, at the current price and without taking into account the list price, the actual price for the order could be $3.5 billion to $3.75 billion,” Kapil Kaul, regional head of CAPA, told Reuters.

A Jet spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

India’s aviation sector has been beset by high costs of fuel and airport charges and heavy debt, with all carriers except unlisted Indigo Airlines posting losses in the fiscal year that ended in March.

With two debt-ridden carriers, Kingfisher Airlines (KING.NS) and Air India AIN.UL, curtailing most of their flights Jet stands to benefit the most, CAPA said.

Kingfisher, owned by flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya, has been struggling to pay off $1.3 billion loan and has slashed the number of its daily flights.

State-owned Air India AIN.UL, which survives on government bailout, has cancelled most of its international flights because of an ongoing strike by its pilots.

“Kingfisher’s dramatic contraction from 66 to 16 operational aircraft, of which half are regional ATR aircraft, has left the domestic business market open for Jet Airways,” CAPA said.

ATR, which makes small haul planes, is an equal partnership between two major European aeronautics players, Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) company, and EADS (EAD.PA).

The disruption at Air India’s longhaul routes has driven North American and UK traffic to Jet, it said.

Jet and other private carriers such as SpiceJet (SPJT.BO) and unlisted Go Air and Indigo are likely to post a combined profit of $200 million in the fiscal year ending next March, the consultancy said.

However, losses at Kingfisher and Air India will keep the industry in the red to the tune of $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion in 2012/13, compared with a total industry loss of $2 billion in the previous year, CAPA said.

(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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