UPDATE 1-India's IndiGo seen placing big aircraft order by early 2015

Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:13am EDT
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(Adds Airbus comment)

By Siva Govindasamy and Anshuman Daga

SINGAPORE Oct 14 (Reuters) - Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo is close to placing a large order worth billions of dollars for a variety of aircraft and could reach a decision as early as 2015, a senior aviation analyst and several industry sources said.

IndiGo, India's largest airline by market share, could pick up a combination of regional planes that can seat up to 100 passengers, narrowbody aircraft such as the Airbus A320s that it already operates, and widebody jets for launching medium- to long-haul services, said Binit Somia, the director of South Asia at industry consultancy CAPA.

Speaking at a conference on Tuesday, he added that an order was imminent.

Two industry sources familiar with orders by Indian airlines confirmed that the airline was actively looking for aircraft and could make a decision by early 2015. Both sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Officials from IndiGo, India's only profitable carrier, could not be reached for comment.

In an email, a spokesman for Airbus said, "It's routine to have discussions with airline customers however we do not confirm any discussions which may or may not be happening."

Any plans for widebody aircraft would mark a switch in IndiGo's business model, which has so far focused on domestic and international flights of up to five hours, and make it the first Indian long-haul, low-cost airline.   Continued...