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Pratt and Whitney engines will give us improved fuel efficiency: Jeh Wadia

Interview with MD, GoAir

Aneesh Phadnis 

Managing Director Jeh Wadia is ecstatic. Eight months after ordering 72 Neos worth over $7 billion (Rs 32,400 crore), he has signed an all-important engine deal for these planes. Wadia has told Reuters the deal is worth $1 billion. The planes will be delivered to the fleet 2016 onwards. The airline has seen modest growth since its inception and has even seen its loads fall below all airlines in December. Wadia speaks to Aneesh Phadnis about the airline’s plans. Edited excerpts:

GoAir’s load fell to 77 per cent. And, it was lower than those of other airlines in December 2011 for the first-time ever. Why did this happen?
We were particular about raising fares. We decided to increase fares at the cost of load reduction, and this has paid off. Increase in revenue has made up for the loss in load factor. We made more revenue at 77 per cent than what I would have at 86 per cent loads. We were able to charge more to last minute passengers.

What is your expansion plan in 2012. Any plans to expand internationally?
There are no plans to expand on international routes. Our focus is to consolidate in India in a profitable way. We will be inducting three airbus A320s to our fleet this year.

The government has allowed airlines to import aviation turbine fuel. What are your views?

We are talking to some of oil We should be able to bring our own fuel because, ultimately, it will go straight to the bottom line. We should get some respite by the end of this year or early next year.

What are your fund-raising plans in this financial year?
We are adequately funded and there are no fund-raising plans this year.

There has been an exodus of senior management in the last few months. There are changes in the senior management every year.
I have replaced the previous chief finance officer. There is a new head of human resources. It (changes in management) is not happening every year. I run a result-oriented organisation.

What is the value and significance of the deal with Pratt and Whitney for engines?
We have signed a $7.2-billion order for the Airbus planes. The engines will give us improved fuel efficiency and better operational performance.

First Published: Thu, February 16 2012. 00:10 IST