Air India has booked simultaneous orders with Airbus S.A. and Boeing Commercial Airplanes for a total of 470 new aircraft, with an estimated capital cost of $80 billion according to Indian news reports. The investment represents a fleet modernization, but also the airline’s bid to become a global carrier domestic, regional, and international service under the new ownership of the Tata Group.
Neither manufacturer nor the buyer offered details on the orders’ values. In addition to Airbus and Boeing, the investment will involve major turbofan engine suppliers CFM International and Rolls-Royce.
“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,” stated Air India CEO and managing director Campbell Wilson.Tata established the airline in 1932, but it was nationalized by the Indian government in 1953. In January 2022, Tata reacquired the carrier in an estimated $2.39-billion buyout.
The larger portion of the total order will go to Airbus, which is due to supply a total of 250 new jets: 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft; plus 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900 wide-body jets. The first delivery – an A350-900 – is scheduled for later this year.
Also, Air India plans to lease another 25 Airbus jets to meet its immediate needs.
The Boeing contract includes 190 737 MAX 8 and MAX 10 narrow-body jets, plus 20 787 Dreamliners and 10 777X long-range aircraft. According to Boeing, the order includes options for 50 additional 737 MAXs and 20 additional 787-9s. “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,” according to Boeing’s announcement.