Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has reportedly won an order from India’s Tata SIA Vistara for six 787 Dreamliners along with an option to acquire four more. The report from Bloomberg News do not specify the model, but the most likely candidate is the 787-9. At list prices six 787-9s are valued at about $1.6 billion.
Vistara, a 50/50 joint venture between India’s Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, chose Boeing’s Dreamliners over a competing bid from Airbus for its A330neo. The outcome is no big surprise, but it may be a small one.
The airline currently flies a fleet of 20 Airbus A320s, a single-aisle passenger jet that competes with Boeing’s 737. The A330neo is Airbus’s smallest dual-aisle wide-body and has had a difficult time competing with the 787.
An order for six airplanes, while welcome, is not game-changing. What is important here is how successful Boeing has been at beating the Airbus A330.
Earlier this year, U.S. carrier Hawaiian Airlines canceled an order for 6 A330neos and placed a new order for 10 Dreamliners. That was the last remaining new order for the A330neo on the Airbus order book.
In April, American Airlines cancelled an ordered for 22 A350s, a larger dual-aisle aircraft, and chose to order additional 787s rather than A330s. At American, either the A330 or the A350 would have added a new model to the airline’s fleet and added complexity to operations and maintenance. That is not how modern airlines make money.
Neither Vistara nor Airbus would comment and reporters were unable to reach a Boeing representative on Saturday before the report was published.