New Delhi, Jan. 9: The Tata-SIA airline has reportedly chosen the Airbus A320 aircraft over Boeing’s 737s, preferred by other Indian carriers, for its operations.
The joint venture airline, which plans to start services by the middle of this year, has faced delays because of slow clearances by local regulators.
Sources said Tata-SIA had opted for the Airbus. However, an Airbus official said, “We do not discuss potential customers.”
Tata-SIA, too, refused to confirm the choice of aircraft. “The primary aircraft has been chosen on the basis of our operational requirements. We will reveal further details as required,” said a senior official of the proposed airline.
Sources said Tata-SIA might acquire around 20 A320s worth $1.83 billion. The aircraft will not be bought directly from Airbus but sourced from leasing firms.
Aviation analysts said there was very little to choose between the A320 and the Boeing 737.
However, in terms of orders, the 737 was ahead. Boeing had grabbed 1,208 orders for the aircraft against 1,089 for the A320.
According to Capa-Centre for Aviation, the B737 and A320 were the most widely used aircraft in the industry.
“Between them, the two aircraft families account for more than 10,000 aircraft built over the past 40 years, with more than half of those manufactured in the last decade,” it observed.
“The two families of medium-range, narrow body aircraft can accommodate anywhere from 110 passengers in low density configurations to 220 passengers in high density, single-class layout. Each are currently produced in four variants. Production backlogs for both types stretch back more than five years,” Capa said.
Both the aircraft have found many takers in India. Indigo Airline, the country’s largest low-cost carrier has 70 A320s and plans to get around 190 more in the next few years.
However, Jet Airways has an extensive narrow body fleet comprising 72 Boeing aircraft.
Air India has 18 A320 aircraft and 20 Boeing 737s in its stable.