Dinesh Keskar, president, Boeing India, talks to Mihir Mishra on products and plans. Excerpts:
When is Air India getting its first 787 Dreamliner?
By the fourth quarter of this calendar year. We started our service readiness testing in Tokyo and the airplane was to go back on Saturday.
We then decided to bring the plane here (India) for a day or two. The plane will do flight testing in Delhi and Mumbai and then go back to Seattle, a 15.5-hour flight.
One reasons AI has put for its losses are the delay in (getting) Dreamliners. What benefits can it get?
That indirectly tells how important this aircraft is for AI. It is a great plane, with large cargo capability and a brand-new passenger appeal inside.
It consumes 20 per cent less fuel than other aircraft of the same size. Maintenance cost is 26 per cent cheaper than aircraft of its size. Since the plane is new and under warranty, the airline does not have to spend on anything but fuel.
Is work on development of the Boeing 787-900
It will be a longer plane, with 60 more seats, and can fly continuously for 16 hours, around four hours more than the 787-800. The work is going well and we will be able to deliver the first 787-900 by the end of 2013.
There is a feeling that you are losing market share to Airbus in the country?
What matters is your intake. It does not matter to me as long as I match intake to intake. How does it matter if I get a 40-airplane order every three years or 200 airplanes every 15 years. That is the way I look at it.
What will be your intake this year?
Quite good and we will bring over 20 aircraft for the domestic market. The balance markets will be above 40.
What growth are you projecting for the Indian domestic market?
In the near term, it could be in the range of 15 per cent and three per cent growth for the 20-year period. In the near term, India would add 45 airplanes a year.
Image: Boeing India president Dinesh Keskar poses with a model of 787 Dreamliner. | Photograph: B Mathur/Reuters