Boeing India President, Dinesh Keskar, stated Air India is scheduled to take delivery of its first of 27 B787 orders in 2Q2011, while Jet Airways will take delivery of the first of ten B787s in 2014 (Business Standard, 17-Dec-2009). Mr Keskar added Air India has leased seven from 17 B737s acquired from Boeing and is scheduled to take delivery of a further eight B737s in 2010. Boeing India stated the construction of Air India’s JV MRO facility in Nagpur will commence in 2010.
Boeing India announces delivery schedule of B787s to Air India and Jet Airways
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Australia-India air travel market grows rapidly but SE Asian hubs hinder nonstop services
The Australia-India market has experienced rapid growth over the last three years, prompting Australia to lobby for more direct services. Visitor arrivals from India are up 50% since mid-2013, and total passenger traffic between the two countries is up approximately 30%.
Air India launched services to Melbourne and Sydney in 2013 but the Australia-India market is still dominated by Southeast Asian flag carriers. Singapore Airlines has been able to maintain a leading 41% share of the market. Malaysia Airlines also still carries more Australia-India passengers than Air India.
Attracting more nonstop flights from Air India, or the possible launch of nonstop flights to India by Australian carriers, will not be easy despite growing demand. Southeast Asia’s network airlines have a competitive advantage as they serve several gateways in both Australia and India. Southeast Asia’s growing medium/long haul LCCs have also started to compete in the Australia-India market and are well positioned to take a large share of the anticipated growth.
Virgin Atlantic seeks new partners in Asia and other eastbound markets, but imminent deals unlikely
In an interview with Bloomberg on 15-Jun-2016, Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said that the airline was open to "accords" that would complement the North Atlantic joint venture with its 49% shareholder Delta. These would be "most likely focused on Asia and other eastbound markets" where Virgin reduced its exposure after the Delta deal.
Although 'Asia and other eastbound markets' are both the world's largest and fastest-growing aviation markets, Virgin has reduced its exposure to Asia Pacific and Middle East since Delta acquired a 49% stake in the UK airline in 2012 and subsequently formed its North Atlantic JV in 2013. Virgin withdrew from Mumbai and Tokyo Narita in 2015, after dropping its Australia route in May-2014.
Mr Kreeger also said that Virgin was looking at adding to its existing seven codeshare partners, which are Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Delta, Flybe, Jet Airways and Singapore Airlines. This report considers which airlines in "Asia and other eastbound markets" might make attractive partners for Virgin Atlantic, whether through new JVs or codeshares. Mr Kreeger may be open to JVs in the region, but he will first need to increase Virgin's very small online presence in Asia. Imminent new deals seem unlikely. In reviewing likely attractive enhanced relationships, Delta's interests will form one ingredient, but Virgin Atlantic remains an airline in its own right.