As widely reported, Air India has been working on placing a large aircraft order since the airline was sent back to the Tata Group. The last we heard was this order was going to be signed and sealed on January 27, 2023. We wrote about the order, which was to be announced earlier in the week. Last evening, the order was announced as well.
Air India signs Letters of Intent with Airbus and Boeing for widebody and single-aisle aircraft.
Air India yesterday announced that it had signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing to acquire both widebody and single-aisle aircraft. The Airbus part of the order was announced in a virtual press event attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. The Boeing part of the order was announced by Joe Biden, the President of the United States. The order comprises:
- 40 Airbus A350s (6 A350-900 to be delivered in 2023, 34 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to be delivered 2025 onwards)
- 20 Boeing 787-9s
- 10 Boeing 777-9s
- 210 Airbus A320neo family aircraft (140 A320neos and 70 A321neos)
- 190 Boeing 737 MAX (737-8 and 737-10 variants)
Air India also signed an order with the engine-makers, with Rolls-Royce getting the contracts for the A350 aircraft and GE Aerospace getting the contract for the Boeing 787-9s and 777-9. Single-aisle aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International, which is a joint venture between Safran and GE.
Tata Sons and Air India Chairman, Mr N Chandrasekaran, said
Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation. This order is an important step in realising Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world-class proposition serving global travellers with an Indian heart. These new aircraft will modernise the Airline’s fleet and onboard product, and dramatically expand its global network. The growth enabled by this order will also provide unparalleled career opportunities for Indian aviation professionals and catalyse accelerated development of the Indian aviation ecosystem.
The first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, with the bulk to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion.
The acquisition of new aircraft will come with an entirely new cabin interior, complimenting Air India’s previously announced plan to refit its existing widebody B787 and B777 aircraft with new seats and inflight entertainment systems. The first of these refitted aircraft will enter service in mid-2024.
On the occasion of signing the order with Airbus, Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson, said,
Airbus has been a longstanding partner of Air India, and these new aircraft will play an important part in delivering Vihaan.AI, Air India’s comprehensive transformation and growth strategy. A core element of this transformation is the significant expansion of our network, both domestically and internationally, coupled with the elevation of our on-ground and onboard product to world-class standards. This order marks the start of a new chapter for both Airbus and Air India.
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, said,
This is a historic moment for Airbus and for Air India. India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honoured that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity. The A350’s unique capability will unlock the pent-up potential of India’s long-haul market, its technology, long reach and second to none comfort will enable new routes and passenger experience with better economics and enhanced sustainability. Alongside the A350s, the A320 Family fleets will be the efficient, versatile asset to continue democratising and decarbonising air travel in the country – from domestic, regional, up to international levels.
On the occasion of signing an order with Boeing, Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India, said,
This acquisition of nearly 300 highly advanced Boeing jets is a core element of Vihaan.AI, the comprehensive transformation and growth strategy we are pursuing at Air India. These new airplanes will enable us to dramatically expand our network, both domestically and internationally, and will come with a completely new, world-class onboard product enabling passengers to travel in the highest levels of comfort and safety. With this order, we are delighted to take our long relationship with Boeing to a new level.
Stan Deal, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said,
Air India’s selection of Boeing’s family of passenger jets shows their confidence in our products and services in the world’s fastest growing aviation market, and their decision will support engineering and manufacturing jobs at Boeing factories in Washington state, South Carolina and across our supply base. With the industry-leading fuel efficiency of the 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777X, Air India is well positioned to achieve its expansion plans and become a world-class global airline with an Indian heart.
Air India has also contracted with Boeing Global Services for lifecycle support services, including digital solutions, spare parts and landing gear exchange programs, pilot and maintenance technician training, aircraft modifications and other services.
Air India and Tata Sons will be investing a huge amount of resources to make Air India (and Air India Express) a leading airline in India. On this journey, they have decided to partner with Airbus and Boeing both to make things happen quickly for the airline. Over 470 aircraft are going to take them a long time to induct, and part of these aircraft will be used for replacing older aircraft while others will be used for growth.
What do you make of the future of Air India?
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