Following its comprehensive transformation plan over five years, Air India has signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing to acquire a modern fleet of both widebody and single-aisle aircrafts.
The order comprises 70 widebody aircrafts (40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s) and 400 single-aisle aircrafts (210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX).
The Airbus A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines while Boeing’s B777/787s will be powered by GE Aerospace engines. All single-aisle aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International.
Air India, now owned by Tata group, tweeted:
AI is committed towards its transformation journey. As a part of the same, we are celebrating the order of 470 aircraft with @Airbus @BoeingAirplanes @RollsRoyce @GE_Aerospace @CFM_engines
As per the press release issued by Air India, the first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, while the bulk of the aircrafts will arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India is taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircrafts to meet the requirements.
A significant portion of the manufacturing process will take place in the UK. Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has welcomed Air India, Airbus and Rolls-Royce deal. He said, ‘This is one of the biggest export deals to India in decades and a huge win for the UK’s aerospace sector’.
A press release issued by the UK Government says, ‘’India is a major economic power, projected to be the world’s third largest economy with a quarter of a billion middle class consumers by 2050. We are currently negotiating a free trade agreement that would boost our £34 billion trading relationship’’.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden have hailed the landmark deal between Air India and aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing and engine makers Rolls-Royce, GE Aerospace and CFM International.