After a tumultuous week, spirits at planemaker Bombardier’s Belfast division have been lifted with confirmation on Friday that Indian airline SpiceJet is to buy up to 50 of the firm’s Q400 turboprop airliners.
The deal valued at US$1.7 billion (£1.3bn) is the largest order ever made for the aircraft various parts for which ar eproduced in the Province, taking firm orders to over 600.
Upon delivery, the airline will become the first in the world to operate a 90-seat turboprop, pending certification by regulatory authorities.
The purchase agreement includes 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights on an additional 25 aircraft.
“We are very proud to firm up this agreement with SpiceJet as it is another demonstration of the Q400’s unique versatility,” said Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“This repeat order will not only increase the Q400 aircraft fleet in the fast-growing regional market in India and in the Asia-Pacific region but will also launch the high-density 90-passenger model.
“This order confirms the airlines’ increased capacity needs on regional routes with high passenger demand and demonstrates the increased profitability potential that this unique turboprop configuration has to offer.”
SpiceJet chairman and MD Ajay Singh Jet underscored the importance of the deal.
“I am sure this fresh order will help us further enhance connectivity to smaller towns and cities and help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ensuring that every Indian can fly.
“SpiceJet operates India’s largest regional fleet and has always been a firm believer in the growth story of India’s smaller towns and cities.
Since 2010, SpiceJet has taken delivery of 15 new Q400 aircraft and currently operates 20 in a 78-seat configuration to domestic and international destinations.