Air India places record order for Boeing, Airbus aircraft in a bid to rejuvenate national carrier

Deal also includes firm order for 40 GEnx engines, 20 GE9X engines, plus services and largest LEAP engine order ever with more than 800 chosen; Rolls-Royce gets order for Trent XWB-97 engines plus Trent XWB-84 engines

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Seoul

Air India announced on Tuesday (14 February) a deal for a record 470 jets from Airbus and Boeing as the airline hopes to rejuvenate itself. The provisional deals include 220 planes from Boeing and 250 from Airbus and eclipse previous records for a single airline as Air India vies with domestic giant IndiGo to serve what will soon be the world’s largest population. The Airbus order includes 210 A320neo narrowbody planes and 40 A350 widebody aircraft, which Air India will use to fly “ultra-long routes”, Tata Chairman N Chandrasekaran said. Boeing will supply 190 737 MAX, 20 of its 787 Dreamliners and 10 mini-jumbo 777X. Together with another 25 Airbus jets to be leased, the overall acquisition reaches 495 jets, an Airbus executive said.

Airbus

(IMAGE: Airbus)

The Tata Group-owned Air India has announced its commitment to order 250 Airbus aircraft to boost its domestic and international operations. The commitment includes 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft as well as 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900 widebody jets that will mark a new era for the country as the all-new, long-range aircraft celebrates its debut in the Indian market. The order aims to both modernise and expand the airline’s fleet with the objective of creating a larger and premium full-service carrier that will cater to the growing travel demand in the region. Deliveries are set to commence with the first A350-900 arriving by late-2023.

“Airbus has been a longstanding partner of Air India, and these new aircraft will play an important part in delivering Vihaan.AI, Air India’s comprehensive transformation and growth strategy,” said Campbell Wilson, CEO and managing director, Air India. “A core element of this transformation is the significant expansion of our network, both domestically and internationally, coupled with the elevation of our on-ground and onboard product to world-class standards. This order marks the start of a new chapter for both Airbus and Air India.”

“This is a historic moment for Airbus and for Air India. India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honoured that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity,” says Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of international. “The A350’s unique capability will unlock the pent-up potential of India’s long-haul market, its technology, long reach and second to none comfort will enable new routes and passenger experience with better economics and enhanced sustainability. Alongside the A350s, the A320 Family fleets will be the efficient, versatile asset to continue democratising and decarbonising air travel in the country – from domestic, regional, up to international levels.”

Over the next decade, India will grow to have the largest population in the world, its economy will expand the fastest among the G20 nations, and a burgeoning middle class will spend more on air travel. As a result, passenger traffic in India will grow fast, including on the long-range markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific that the A350 is well positioned to serve.

Boeing

(IMAGE: Boeing)

Boeing said Air India has selected 190 737 MAX planes, 20 787 Dreamliners and 10 777X airplanes. Along with a comprehensive set of aviation services, Air India is advancing its fleet strategy to sustainably address South Asia’s rapidly growing market for domestic and international air travel. The agreement between Boeing and Air India includes options for 50 additional 737 MAXs and 20 787-9s. When finalised, 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. The order will post to Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website when final.

“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 stateSouth Carolina and across our supply base,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “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.”

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.

Engines

As part of the Air India order, Rolls-Royce and CFM also announced deals for engines that will power Air India’s new planes.

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce announced it has received an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, plus options for 20 more. This is the biggest ever order for the Trent XWB-97, which exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000. Air India has also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900. This is the first time that an Indian airline has ordered the Trent XWB and the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. Financial details of the order are not being disclosed.

Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO, Rolls-Royce plc, said: “Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly remarkable occasion for Tata Group and Air India; the size and magnitude of this order reflects the level of their ambition for the future. I congratulate them on taking this bold step towards becoming one of the world’s greatest airlines and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce to power them on this journey. Air India is the first Indian airline to order the Trent XWB and the size of the commitment, including options, will make them the biggest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. With a dynamic and growing aviation industry, India is a strategically important market for us and we look forward to working with Air India as they connect their passengers across global communities and cultures.”

GE/CFM

GE Aerospace said Air India has signed a firm order for 40 GEnx-1B and 20 GE9X engines, plus a multi-year TrueChoice engine services agreement. The deal was signed in coordination with the airline’s firm order for 20 Boeing 787 and 10 Boeing 777X aircraft.

“All of us at Tata Group and Air India are delighted to have this partnership with GE Aerospace, where we will build Air India to be a world class airline and one of the most technology-advanced airlines,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons and Air India.

“We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Tata Group and Air India,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., chairman and CEO of GE and CEO of GE Aerospace. “We look forward to working together to introduce these engines into Air India’s fleet and are committed to ensuring they deliver exceptional performance.”

GE Aerospace has powered Air India since 1982, when the airline took delivery of its first CF6-powered Airbus A300. The airline currently operates a fleet of more than 150 aircraft, including GE90-powered Boeing 777s and GEnx-powered Boeing 787s.

Air India also announced a CFM order for more than 800 LEAP engines, the largest LEAP order ever, to power its entire narrowbody purchase of 210 Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 MAX-family aircraft. The announcement includes a multi-year CFM services agreement. CFM is a 50/50 joint business between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.

“This order for GE Aerospace engines supports our Vihaan.AI transformation plan, a key part of which is to dramatically expand our fleet and global network,” said Campbell Wilson, CEO & Managing Director of Air India. “We are confident that these engines will deliver the reliability and efficiency we need, and we are delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with GE.”


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