After months and months of rumours, it is finally official! Air India has announced that it will buy 250 aircraft from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to support the growing demand and modernise its fleet.
Air India-Airbus partnership
Air India today announced that it has a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Airbus for 250 aircraft, out of which 210 are narrow-body aircraft and 40 are wide-body aircraft. Specifically, the airline has placed an order for the following aircraft:
- 140 Airbus A320neos
- 70 Airbus A321neos
- 40 Airbus A350s (6 A350-900s and 34 A350-1000s)
The deal was announced today in an virtual announcement with Ratan Tata (former Chairman of Tata Sons), N. Chandrasekaran (Chairperson of the Tata Group), Campbell Wilson (Managing Director and CEO of Air India), Guillaume Faury (CEO of Airbus), Emmanuel Macron (President of France), Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India), Jyotiraditya Scindia (a Union Minister of Civil Aviation of India) and Piyush Goyal (Leader of the House (India)) present at the time of announcement. The fact that these many people were present during the announcement just goes to show how much the Tatas, the Governments of India and France and in fact, all the industry stakeholders are serious about turning Air India into a global airline with service standards matchable with the top airlines.
N. Chandrasekaran, during the announcement, said that the airline has option to place order for additional aircraft as it grows. He also said that the airline is thinking and evaluating the options to set up a civil aviation aircraft assembling unit in India.
We have built a very good relationship with Airbus. Today I am happy to announce that we have signed a letter of intent to acquire 250 aircraft from Airbus. We on our part are going through a massive transformation because we are committed to building a world class airline. One of the most important thing is a modern fleet which is efficient and perform on all routes.said N. Chandrasekaran, Chairperson of the Tata Group.
This is the biggest order by Air India placed in its history and is part of a larger order with almost 500 aircraft set to join its fleet in the coming years. Since the last few days, it has been in the news that the airline has signed an order with Boeing for 190 B737MAXs, 20 B787 Dreamliners and 10 Boeing B777Xs. We will have to wait for an official announcement from Air India regarding this deal.
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Airbus wins yet another order from India!
The narrow-body domestic market of India is dominated by Airbus. Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and GoFirst all use A320 family aircraft for their domestic hops. In fact, IndiGo is the largest customer of A320 aircraft with more than 700 aircraft in order and 250 already in its fleet.
With this order, Airbus has won yet another big customer in the form of Air India. The airline already uses Airbus aircraft for its domestic operations. However, the airline now has a ageing fleet. The need to modernise the fleet is the need of the hour and Air India is doing just that.
Wide-body entry for Airbus!
Presently, two airlines in India operates wide-body aircraft in India – Air India and Vistara (IndiGo’s leased B777s are just here for at most six months). Air India operates both B777s and B787 Dreamliners while Vistara operates only the latter. This means that Boeing dominates the wide-body operations in India.
With Air India’s order for 40 A350s, this Boeing monopoly has now been broken, with Airbus finally getting a new customer for its wide-body aircraft in India. I personally think that the A350 is one of the best long-haul aircraft and I can’t wait to get onboard one of Air India’s A350 soon!
This is exciting!
One interesting thing that N. Chandrasekaran said during the announcement was that Air India had been having discussions with Airbus regarding new aircraft order since the last two years, even before the Government of India officially handed over the airline to the Tata Group.
Fleet modernisation is a part of Air India’s transformation plan “Vihaan.AI” and this order of Airbus aircraft is just a step in that direction, with Boeing set to join soon. Airbus and Air India have started a new journey which will see the airline going from strength to strength. What a better day than Valentine’s Day to start a new relationship I must say! 😉
Frankly speaking, the way in which Airbus and Air India officially declared the order in a virtual announcement in just not. After months and months of waiting, the airline announced the order in a very plain way, with no celebration or event kind of thing. Remember how United announced its order of 200 Boeing B787 Dreamliners at a grand event a few weeks back. I am talking just like that.
Anyways, setting that aside, it’s great to see Air India finally connecting the dots and setting its path for the future to build a customer-centric and trustworthy global airline that Indians can be proud of!
Meanwhile, Air India and Air Asia India recently began optimising their networks to better align with the market needs.
Featured image by Twitter/spottingatxfw
What do you think of Air India placing order for 250 Airbus aircraft? Let me know in the comments section below.