The deal includes a firm order for as many as 42 Boeing 737 MAX
aircraft that offer fuel savings compared to SpiceJet's existing
fleet of current-generation Boeing 737s, the sources said.
Such an order would be worth $4.4 billion at list prices without
adjusting for either inflation or price discounts.
The Indian carrier has also negotiated options to double the order
by taking up to 42 further jets depending on its ability to grow,
the industry sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity on
A spokeswoman for SpiceJet declined to comment.
On Monday, Boeing said unidentified airlines had placed orders at
the end of 2013 for 164 such medium-haul aircraft.
Industry sources said at least part of the SpiceJet order is
included among those latest unidentified orders and is therefore
already part of Boeing's backlog of new business.
A spokeswoman for Boeing declined to comment.
Shares in the U.S. planemaker rose as much as 1.9 percent on
Tuesday, easily outpacing the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
In Mumbai earlier, SpiceJet shares closed up 1.25 percent.
The deal comes as India's fourth-biggest airline by domestic market
share seeks new planes and new investments to revive its fortunes
after posting a record quarterly loss in November, hit by costly
fuel and a weak rupee.
SpiceJet's auditor said in its annual report as of March 2013 that
its ability to remain a "going concern" depended on establishing
profitable operations and raising funds.
Industry sources say the long-awaited fleet renewal and the search
for a new investor have become intertwined, with the airline seen as
potentially more attractive once it secures valuable delivery
positions for the new jets from 2018 onwards.
The airline, controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran's Sun Group,
is seen as a target for foreign investors after India loosened
restrictions on investment by foreign airlines.
SpiceJet has reported interest from potential investors but has not
It has been linked in the past with Qatar Airways and Dubai's
Emirates but both have denied any interest in a stake.
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Last month, SpiceJet announced a three-year inter-line partnership
with Singapore's Tiger Airways, raising the prospect of closer
co-operation between those airlines.
However, some analysts say the airline's immediate priority is to
stabilize operational finances. Details of the way in which the
order would be funded were not immediately available.
"I still believe, for SpiceJet, concerns of funding are very
critical," said Kapil Kaul, chief Executive for South Asia at the
Centre for Aviation, an industry analysis firm.
"Our assessment is that $150 million-200 million are required for
the current set of operations. If they have to fund the fleet, their
requirement could be closer to $300 million."
For Boeing, the deal helps cement its position in one of the world's
fastest-growing but volatile aviation markets, where it relies
primarily on two operators for the 737 jets, one of which is
Indian media reports had said SpiceJet was looking towards Boeing's
arch-rival Airbus, which has been increasing its share of the Indian
market despite the grounding of one of its domestic customers,
Boeing is seen as keen to avoid losing a high-profile customer in
India where it can ill afford to surrender market share for
narrowbody 737 jets.
Meanwhile, new entrants are preparing to step up competition in
India's fast-growing but loss-ridden airline sector. They include
Malaysia's AirAsia and a new venture between Tata Group and
(Additional reporting by Devidutta
Tripathy; editing by Mark John, Geert de Clercq and Susan Fenton)
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