IndiGo says Airbus to deliver delayed A320neo jets from March

An IndiGo Airlines aircraft prepares to land as a man paddles his cycle rickshaw in Ahmedabad, India, October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Budget airline IndiGo INGL.NS said on Monday it would receive its first A320neo jet in March, three months later than originally planned after manufacturer Airbus AIR.PS said it could not deliver the aircraft on time.

IndiGo, India’s biggest airline by market share, had expected its first A320neo in December and nine jets by March. The airline said it would now take delivery of 24 planes in the year to March 2017, less than the 26 originally planned.

Airbus has been renegotiating delivery for the A320neo, an upgraded fuel-saving version of its best-selling medium-haul jet, due to what it described as issues with documentation for new Pratt & Whitney engines, industry sources said this month.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, is one of Airbus’ biggest customers as it expands its fleet to tap into India’s booming air travel market.

It finalised the purchase of 250 A320neo aircraft in August, handing Airbus its largest-ever order by number of planes, and took its total A320-family jet orders to 530.

In a statement on Monday, IndiGo said its total fleet size, currently numbering around 100 planes, is expected to increase by about 22.4 percent year-on-year in the 2017 financial year.

“With the resolution of the delivery of A320neos, IndiGo expects to continue with its strong operating performance, growth in profitability and healthy cash generation,” IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said.

For the three months to end-March, IndiGo said exchange rate movements in the Indian rupee against the U.S. dollar would impact its net profit and revenue growth, which it forecasts to rise 6 to 8 percent over last year.

Shares in InterGlobe Aviation were down 2.6 percent at 0445 GMT in the BSE Sensex down 0.25 percent. The stock has lost more than a third of its value this year after a rapid rise in the price following its stock market listing in October.

Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Miral Fahmy