Kfisher in $7.3-bn Airbus deal talks

New Delhi, Jan 26 | Updated: Jan 27 2008, 06:53am hrs
Kingfisher Airlines is in talks to buy around 40 Airbus planes in a deal worth about 5 billion euros ($7.33 billion), a French diplomatic source said on Friday.

There are discussions between Kingfisher and Airbus for a potential of 5 billion euros, a source said on the sidelines of French President Nicolas Sarkozys state visit to India.

The source said the deal would involve around 40 Airbus planes but the source did not know which types of planes. This could be concluded quite quickly.

Airbus had no immediate comment.

The source said it was the same deal as the preliminary $7.2 billion contract Kingfisher announced at the Le Bourget airshow last June in France.

At the time, Kingfisher had said the contract was for 50 planes, including 15 A350-800 XWB jets worth $3 billion as well as five four-engine A340-500 planes, 10 A330-200 wide-body models and 20 single-aisle A320-family jets.

Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant liquor tycoon who heads the UB group and started Kingfisher Airlines in 2005 to broaden its beer brand, said the airline was building up capacity to operate non-stop routes between India and the U.S. East Coast.

It already has five A380 superjumbos on order as well as a backlog of 86 A320 short-to-medium range single-aisle jets and 10 of the A330/340 family, making it one of the largest single stakeholders in the Airbus order backlog by number of planes.