Delivery of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737 a little over a week ago in Washington state marked the fulfillment of what Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales Dinesh Keskar characterized as a “major win” for the company in the Asian market. In fact, while Boeing would no doubt relish the chance to convert any Airbus operator, the contract with the Singapore Airlines subsidiary came as particularly satisfying given the impressive market share its rival from Europe has established in the region over the past decade or so.
Economic growth, aviation deregulation, a growing middle class and aggressive tourism marketing continue to drive business in the regional markets of Asia-Pacific, where well entrenched budget carriers such as Malaysia’s AirAsia and Indonesia’s Lion Air face increasing competition from new low-cost startups. In neighboring India, three of every four airline seats now belong to budget carriers.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) open-skies agreement, to be implemented by 2015, will open up big business in the region for aircraft OEMs, according to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes senior v-p of sales Asia-Pacific and India. The agreement is intended to boost connectivity and increase traffic growth by granting open market access to all international airports in Southeast Asia to airlines of the 10 Asean member states.
Boeing sent yet another signal last week that its use of cheaper labor markets in the southeastern U.S. would only accelerate when it announced plans to open a new propulsion engineering center in Charleston, South Carolina, to support the 737 Max. The move comes as part of a wider plan encompassing the establishment of new centers for engineering design and out-of-production airplane support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington State and Southern California.
India lost 9 percent of its airline seat capacity as a result of Kingfisher suspending operations since October 1, 2012, when its 66-aircraft fleet was grounded, according to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing’s senior sales vice president for Asia Pacific and India.
A busy fortnight for the Boeing 787 program climaxed with the arrival of Air India’s first Dreamliner in Delhi last Saturday, just a week after the first of the new widebodies destined to enter service in the Americas went to Chile’s LAN.
Air India plans to finally take off with its first Boeing 787 tomorrow on a flight to Delhi from Charleston, South Carolina, following an impromptu delivery ceremony today and months of bureaucratic wrangling over program delay compensation.
With leasing companies taking positions on Boeing’s new 737 Max, the Asia-Pacific region holds the key to large narrowbody orders, according to Boeing’s senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and India, Dinesh Keskar. “We have three potential customers in India and more in Asia [that can take the Max] on lease or direct buy: Jet Airways, SpiceJet and even Air India Express,” he told AIN. “[The Max] can go 500 additional miles, which will be a big boon for the Asian market.”
Indonesia’s Lion Air underlined its clear love for Boeing aircraft here on St. Valentine’s Day when it signed a “ceremonial certificate of purchase” to firm up the massive aircraft order it first revealed at the Dubai Airshow last November.
Boeing will deliver Air India’s first 787 Dreamliner by the fourth quarter, Boeing India president Dinesh Keskar said yesterday at Aero India. The announcement follows Boeing’s January announcement of the first delivery of Dreamliner aircraft to All Nippon Airways in the third quarter.
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