Aviation News

BREAKING: Air India places order for 220 Boeing aircraft

It’s a sweet Tuesday! Air India has today officially announced an order for 220 Boeing aircraft with options for 70 more. This comes just hours after the airline announced an order for 250 Airbus aircraft.

Boeing in the house!

Air India has placed an order for 220 aircraft with options for 70 additional aircraft. The order is split between three aircraft models as follows:

  • 190 Boeing B737MAXs
  • 20 Boeing B787-9s
  • 10 Boeing B777-9s

The airline has also option for 50 additional B737MAXs and 20 B787s. Boeing says that 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. This deal is valued at $34 billion at list prices.

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.

said Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India.

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.

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Boeing’s Indian narrow-body market penetration

The B737MAXs ordered by Air India includes two versions – B737MAX-8 and B737MAX-10. The -8 variant seats anywhere between 162 and 210 passengers and has a range of 3,500 nautical miles while the -10 variant seats anywhere between 188 and 230 passengers and has a range of 3,100 nautical miles.

Boeing has realised renderings of B737MAX in Air India livery (visible in the image above). However, as far as the plan is (which I believe will be true), these B737MAXs will be used by Air India Express. It’s just a personal thought but it can also happen that Air India uses these aircraft. We will know the answer to this question in due course.

Boeing has been able to recover the market image of the B737MAX to a certain extent in India. Presently, the aircraft is used by Akasa Air and SpiceJet in India. The order for 190 of this aircraft type goes to show how Boeing has been successfully penetrating the narrow-body aircraft market in India, which is currently dominated by Airbus.

Going for larger wide-body variants

Air India currently operates Boeing B787-8 Dreamliners, B777-200LRs (Long Range) and B777-300ERs (Extra Range) wide-body aircraft. With the plan to refurbish those aircraft, the airline is looking ahead with modernisation of its wide-body fleet.

The carrier has chosen the larger B787-9 variant in addition to the B777-9s. The selection of B777-9s is intriguing, given that the aircraft is heavily-delayed and is yet to be certified. Although that is true, Air India has also ordered 10 of those so it’s not a major problem if those aircraft are delayed.

The mix of B787-8s and B787-9s will be great as the airline will be able to deploy the right aircraft in the right market according to the market demands. The larger B787-9s will provide the airline increased capacity, greater range and better fuel efficiency, effectively everything which an airline wants from a long-haul aircraft.

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.

said Stan Deal, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The relationship between Air India and Boeing has been a historic one and with this order, it’s only going to grow.

Meanwhile, Air India and Air Asia India recently began optimising their network to better align their networks to meet the market demands.

Featured image by Boeing

What do you think of Air India ordering 220 Boeing aircraft? Let me know in the comments section below.

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