SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh at the Delhi airport (T3). Photo: Shekhar Ghosh
Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier today signed a pact with budget carrier SpiceJet for sale of up to 50 turboprop jets valued at $1.7 billion. Upon delivery, the airline will become the first in the world to operate a 90-seat turboprop, pending certification by regulatory authorities, Bombardier said in a release.
Owned by serial entrepreneur Ajay Singh, SpiceJet had in June this year announced plans to purchase up to 50 Bombardier Q400s worth $1.7 billion.
"We are very proud to firm up this agreement with SpiceJet. This repeat order will not only increase the Q400 aircraft fleet in the fast-growing regional market in India and in the Asia-Pacific region but will also launch the high- density 90-passenger model," Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer said.
He also said the order confirms the airline's increased capacity needs on regional routes with high passenger demand and demonstrates the increased profitability potential that this unique turboprop configuration has to offer.
Currently, SpiceJet has 20 Bombardier Q400 planes in a 78-seat configuration in its fleet besides 35 Boeing 737s.
The purchase agreement includes 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights for an additional 25 aircraft, the release said.
"I am pleased to confirm SpiceJet's latest order for up to 50 Bombardier Q400 planes, which has been announced at the Paris Air Show. I am sure this fresh order will help us further enhance connectivity to smaller towns..." Singh, SpiceJet's chairman and managing director, said.
SpiceJet operates India's largest regional fleet and has always been a firm believer in the growth story of the country's smaller towns and cities, he added.
The fleet expansion would provide SpiceJet with the ability to grow profitably and leverage the robust demand forecast in the world's fastest growing regional aviation market, Bombardier said.
In a separate release, the no-frills airline said that since 2010 it has taken delivery of 15 Q400 aircraft (78- seater).
The airline had earlier this year placed an order for up to 225 narrow and wide-body jets with Boeing.