​Boeing preparing to pitch 777X to Indian airlines

Aviation

Boeing intends to begin talks with Indian airlines shortly as it looks to win business for the 777X as a replacement for ageing widebodies.

Speaking to FlightGlobal at Aero India in Bengaluru, Boeing’s senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific and India sales Dinesh Keskar said he expected the 777X to replace the 777s operated by Air India and Jet Airways – India’s only two widebody operators

Cirium fleets data shows that Air India has 11 777-300ERs and three 777-200LRs, with an average of around 10 years. Jet, meanwhile, has 10 777-300ERs aged between 10 and 12 years.

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Keskar acknowledges that both airlines are pursuing ownership changes, but he nonetheless expects them to have the financial resources to afford new widebodies.

He says the two 777 variants, the -8 and -9, offer different benefits to the Indian airlines.

“The -8 offers unprecedented range that can operate nonstop flights between Delhi and San Francisco or Mumbai to Newark and Chicago … and allows them to open more new routes. If they go with the -9, they can expect better economics with lower fuel burn and more seat capacity, which translates to lower seat-mile cost.”

Keskar adds: “The 777X is the next big thing to happen after we have introduced the 737 Max and 787… We will be briefing [Jet and Air India] on the 777X.”

Boeing is currently completing assembly of the first -9 derivative of the new GE Aviation GE9X-powered 777X family, with roll-out expected in mid-March. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery to launch customer Emirates in 2020.