Air India has placed the largest aircraft order in the history of Indian aviation. The Tata Sons-owned airline has placed an order for 470 aircraft with Airbus and Boeing.
The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9 widebody aircraft, as well as 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-bodies. The A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines, and the B777/787s by engines from GE Aerospace. All 400 narrow-body aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International.
On Tuesday, during a video conference, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced the mega deal with Airbus. The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, Ratan Tata, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Air India Chairman Campbell Wilson.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Boeing announced a firm order of 220 aircraft. The order, according to Boeing’s statement, can include an order of 70 more aircraft taking the total to 290 aircraft.
Sources said that after a call between PM Modi and President Biden, and regulatory approvals by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Letter of Intent was signed.
“Together with Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to deepening our partnership even further as we continue to confront shared global challenges—creating a more secure and prosperous future for all of our citizens,” Biden said.
On the order placed with Boeing, President Joe Biden in a statement issued by the White House called it a “historic agreement.”
This purchase will support over one million American jobs across 44 states, and many will not require a four-year college degree. This announcement also reflects the strength of the US-India economic partnership,”
In an internal email to its employees, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said that the first aircraft to arrive will be 25 brand-new Boeing B737-800s and 6 Airbus A350-900s in the second half of 2023, with deliveries really ramping up in 2025 and beyond.
“The firm part of the order alone is not just the largest order ever made by an Indian airline, it is one of the largest single aircraft orders by any airline, anywhere, ever, and testifies to India’s unique combination of extraordinary scale and growth opportunity,” Wilson said.
In addition to the 470 aircraft on firm order, Air India has secured a number of options and purchase rights. These give us the option, but not the obligation, to take additional aircraft at already-negotiated production slots and/or prices so that we can nimbly accommodate further growth and manage risk.
“The agreement between Boeing and Air India includes options for 50 additional 737 MAXs and 20 787-9s. When finalized, this will be the largest Boeing order in South Asia and a historic milestone in the aerospace company’s nearly 90-year partnership with the carrier,” said Boeing in a statement.