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Indian Airlines Places 43 Planes From Airbus

Domestic champion seeks to maintain market lead...

Indian Airlines which is fighting to keep its half of the country's domestic market, placed its biggest aircraft order after two years of delays and a botched effort to sell the state run carrier. The airline's board cleared a plan to buy 43 Airbus narrow body planes for $2.25 billion.

Indian Airlines needs approval from the government, which in the past delayed expansion because it wanted the carrier privatized first. New investments are key to Indian Airlines as it seeks to protect its fifty two percent market share. The government may allow Indian Airlines and the long haul carrier Air India Ltd. to make new investments now because the earlier plan of finding private owners failed because of lack of interest and political hurdles.

The largely state-run aviation industry in India ?has remained significantly under-invested in the last decade,? said Timothy Ross, executive director of regional transport research at UBS Warburg Asia Ltd. ?The order seems to be an attempt to start redressing that situation.?