Airbus, Air India resume talks on A-380 aircraft sale

March 24th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie has once again initiated talks with India’s flagship carrier Air India to sell its jumbo A-380 aircraft, a senior company official said Tuesday.
“Yes, we are in talks with Air India for our A-380 aircraft,” Srinivasan Dwarkanath, head of international cooperation, India and East Asia at Airbus, told IANS on the sidelines of a press meet here.

Similar talks with Air India in 2007 had failed.

A senior Air India official confirmed the development but maintained that the procurement of the A-380 airbus - currently the world’s largest passenger aircraft with a sitting capacity of 850 - was at a planning stage.

If a deal is struck, Airbus expects to sell at least 10 A-380 aircraft. So far, only Kingfisher Airlines among Indian carriers has placed any order - for five A-380s. The delivery will begin in 2010-11.

Airbus has delivered over 400 aircraft to India till date, and currently, has orders for a little over 240 more.

Christian Scherer, executive vice-president of Airbus, said India would require 1,100 aircraft including cargo planes worth Rs.525,000 crore ($105 billion) in the next 20 years.

Maintaining that air traffic worldwide would double every 15 years with India being one of the growth engines, Scherer said: “India is an important market for Airbus.”

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS), Airbus Industrie’s parent company, is also setting-up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here by refurbishing Air India’s existing infrastructure.

“Air India already has an infrastructure in place here. I think we will be able to start in the second quarter of the next fiscal,” said Srinivasan.

The initial investment for the MRO facility for Airbus planes will be around Rs.387 crore ($80 million).

Unlike Boeing, which is directly investing $100 million in an MRO facility in Nagpur as part of its commitment made when it signed a deal to sell 68 aircraft to Air India, Airbus wants its Indian partners to invest also.

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