Predicaments of Boeing in India

By Ankur Deo | December 23, 2019

For quite some time now, India has been an imperative market for the aviation industry, making it quite an alluring and pivotal sector for aircraft manufacturers and airlines alike; And when we say ‘alluring’, we mean it!

In April this year, Jet Airways suspended operations and other airlines are still looking to fill the void. One of the growing airlines in India that has played a crucial role in domestic traffic expansion has been SpiceJet, which, as of today, has more than 200 aircraft on order. SpiceJet has a Boeing dominant fleet, baring the 32 Bombardier Dash 8 it uses for the shorter routes. And as far as the order-book of the airline is concerned, this is what concerns the airline too! SpiceJet has 192 Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft on order, of which 13 are already delivered (and now, grounded). After Jet Airways folded, SpiceJet even acquired 4 of Jet’s Boeing 737 MAX-8, which makes their count of grounded aircraft to a good 17. This is almost 15% of SpiceJet’s entire fleet!

Additionally, Boeing’s decision to halt the 737 MAX production (you can read more about it in our recent article titled ‘Boeing suspend 737-MAX production’), which shall come to effect in January 2020, could very well prove as a major impediment for SpiceJet’s aggressive expansion plan. Accordingly, SpiceJet has also shown an intent to place an order for 100 Airbus aircraft as a substitute for their 737 MAX deal. And though this new deal is yet to take any concrete shape, if and when it does, it could definitely push Boeing to the margins in Indian aviation sector. As of date, sources suggest that close to 700 odd aircraft by numerous manufacturers are flying India’s skies, and only about 180 of them are made by Boeing, which means that Airbus aircraft account for more than 65% of market share in India. For a manufacturer as gargantuan as Boeing, these numbers in a market as crucial as India is indeed a concerning (and to an extent, quite interesting) fact.

SpiceJet took in 4 of Jet’s 737 aircraft. Image Credits:

With IndiGo and GoAir having several Airbus A320neo series aircraft in the skies and in their order-books, Airbus has been outperforming Boeing quite convincingly in the recent while. India is a tough market to sustain in, and for Boeing, it quite rightly has proven to be so! What do you think, will Boeing recapture India’s skies if and when the 737 MAX are re-certified to fly, or will Airbus continue with its momentum? Let us know in the comments!

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