Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

New Delhi/Singapore — Indian airline Vistara has placed firm orders for six Boeing 787 jets and 13 Airbus A320neos valued at $3.1bn at list prices, as it looks to add more domestic flights and launch international routes later in 2018.

The order for Boeing’s 787s marks a new setback for Airbus in an intense battle for wide-body orders as the European aircraft maker seeks to strengthen the order book for its upgraded A330neo aircraft.

Boeing posted figures on Tuesday showing a significant lead in orders over its European rival, buoyed by demand for the 787 following a series of showdowns against the A330neo.

Airbus said last week it saw good demand for the upgraded aircraft and is expected to announce orders soon. The Farnborough Airshow, which typically attracts large numbers of airline orders, will be held in Britain next week.

Vistara joins rival Jet Airways and low-cost carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet that have plans to grow their global operations to offset a competitive, price-sensitive domestic market.

"India’s position as the world’s fastest growing domestic aviation market and its impressive growth in air passenger traffic that has more than doubled over the last decade makes us confident of our aggressive plans for domestic expansion and international foray," Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said on Wednesday.

The joint venture between India’s Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines said it would procure another 37 A320neos from leasing companies and also had purchase rights over four more 787-9s and options over seven more A320neos.

The purchased and leased Airbus aircraft will be delivered in 2019-23. The Boeing aircraft are expected in 2020-21.

There is huge potential for international travel from India, where the domestic aviation market has grown about 20% annually in recent years.