8:57 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Boeing in talks with Jet, Air India for 737 Max jets

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Boeing Co (BA.N) is in talks with Indian airlines Jet Airways (JET.NS) and Air India about the sale of its 737 MAX jets, a senior sales executive at the aircraft manufacturer told Reuters on Thursday.

Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president sales for Asia Pacific at Boeing, said that talks with state-owned Air India were not as “intensely involved” as they were with Jet Airways.

Boeing would now raise its forecast for sales to the Indian market, Keskar added. Last year the manufacturer forecast airlines in India would need 1,450 new airplanes worth $175 billion over the next 20 years.

News of the talks comes a day after Indian budget airline SpiceJet (SPJT.BO) announced a deal with Boeing to buy 42 of its MAX jets in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

“Yes, the Indian market right now is going through its difficulties… Today everybody is selling below cost. And that means they are losing money,” Keskar told Reuters in an interview at an air show in Hyderabad.

“I think India will come out of it. We do see some improvements that are coming up,” he said.

Indian airlines are struggling under the weight of costly fuel and a weak rupee even though India is one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, with air passenger traffic forecast to triple to more than 450 million by 2020 as incomes rise and more people start to fly.

IndiGo is currently the only one among India’s five national carriers that is making a profit. Airlines hope that upgrades to their fleet and new investments will revive their fortunes.

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