Air India has ordered 470 new aircraft of various modifications from Boeing and Airbus enterprises – this is a record contract for the aviation industry. Thus, the company plans to become one of the largest carriers in the world.
India’s Tata chief Natarajan Chandrasekaran (Tata owns Air India) said the deals will allow the company to modernize the fleet and significantly expand the route network. The first aircraft will be delivered at the end of this year.
The contract with the American Boeing for 34 billion dollars includes the delivery of 190 aircraft of the 737 Max family, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 10 aircraft of the 777X series (their mass production has not yet started). In total – 220 units, as well as an option to supply another 70 aircraft in the future.
The Airbus company, which is owned by France, Germany, Spain and the UK, will produce 250 planes for Air India – 40 wide-body A350s and 210 narrow-body A320neos. Airbus does not disclose the amount of the agreement, but it is also valued at tens of billions of dollars.
“Today is a historic moment for India, for Air India and for Airbus. The volume of the order shows an appetite for growth for India’s aviation industry, which is the fastest growing in the world,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.
“The contract signed this morning between Airbus and Tata Sons marks a new step in the strategic partnership between India and France. Thank you dear Narendra Modi for your confidence in France and our industry”, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
For Boeing, the current order is the third largest in history and the second largest in terms of number of planes. Combined, the two transactions represent the largest order by a commercial carrier (the previous record was held by American Airlines, which ordered 460 aircraft in 2011).
US President Joe Biden called the deal historic and said it would create more than a million jobs in the United States.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said the orders will help create 450 jobs in the UK, as Boeing engines will be supplied by Rolls-Royce.
“By forging trade links with emerging economic powerhouses like India, we are committed to ensuring that British businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation,” Sunak said in a statement.
According to Reuters, citing aviation industry sources, the deal had been in the works for more than a year. The final deal was made at a luxury hotel in central London.
“According to those involved in the negotiations, reaching the biggest deal in history took months of secret negotiations, which took place just outside Buckingham Palace and ended with an Indian curry dinner,” describes the agency.
The deal comes less than two years after the Indian government sold Air India to Indian conglomerate Tata Group.
Nationalized in 1953, the airline long maintained a reputation as a high-class carrier, but in the 1990s competition in the aviation market intensified and the company began to suffer losses in the early 1990s. 2000.
“The order is huge, but much of it is a long overdue replacement. Air India is lagging far behind in upgrading its fleet,” said Singapore-based independent aviation analyst Brendan Souby.
According to him, Air India has to compete with low-cost carriers, which have started to actively meet the demand for domestic flights in India, as well as major foreign carriers on international routes.
In recent years, the airline has lost ground to rivals such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad and other Middle Eastern carriers, which currently operate the majority of flights to India.
Demand for air travel in India and other Asian countries has grown over the past decade, driven by a growing economy and rising incomes that have made air travel more affordable for millions of people.