Air India Inks Deal To Buy 250 Aircraft From Airbus, Including 40 Wide-Body Planes

Air India Inks Deal To Buy 250 Aircraft From Airbus, Including 40 Wide-Body Planes

Air India will acquire 250 aircraft, including 40 wide-body planes, from Airbus, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Tuesday.

The Tata Group-owned airline will buy 40 wide-body A350 planes and 210 narrow-body aircraft.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the launch of the new Air India-Airbus Partnership via video conference.

During a virtual event being attended by the prime minister and French president, among others, Chandrasekaran said a letter of intent has been signed with Airbus for the acquisition of the aircraft. Modi said that Air India-Airbus deal shows strengthening of strategic partnership between India and France.

“Indian aviation sector will need more than 2,000 aircraft in the next 15 years,” Modi said during the event.

Air India will get 250 Airbus planes, 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s, worth more than $50 billion at list prices. The wide-body aircraft will be used for ultra-long flights.

“The order for 250 planes is the first step in not only expanding Air India’s capacity but also in the journey to manufacturing commercial aircraft in India,” Chandrasekaran said.

In January last year, Tata Group acquired national carrier Air India.

Last month, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said the airline is finalising a historic order of new aircraft. Air India, earlier under the ownership of the government, had acquired new aircraft more than 16 years ago.

The airline has not purchased a single aircraft since 2005 and the last order was for 111 aircraft, 68 with Boeing Co and remaining 43 with Airbus, and that deal was worth $10.8 billion.

The deal will likely to include 40 wide-body Airbus A350s, and Air India will be the first Indian carrier to operate the aircraft. In the past, Air India had operated wide-body A330s.

On Wednesday, aviation consultancy CAPA said Indian carriers are likely to place orders for up to 1,700 planes by 2024 and Air India may make the first move with some 500 planes order.

Currently, Indian carriers operate less than 50 wide-body aircraft, an insignificant number for such a significant market. In contrast, Emirates alone has a fleet of over 260 wide-bodies, CAPA had said.

Recently, IndiGo started wide-body operations on India-Turkey route with a wet-leased B777 and plans to induct two more such planes.

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