Air India has finalized a massive order for 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Airshow, worth $70bn (£50bn) at list prices.
The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, was the largest ever plane order by number of aircraft until it was surpassed by Indian rival IndiGo’s order for 500 Airbus jets on Monday.
The order includes 250 planes from Airbus and 220 from Boeing, with a mix of narrowbody and widebody aircraft.
Air India said the order was part of its ambitious fleet renewal and expansion program to compete with its rival IndiGo in the Indian market, which is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market.
“Our ambitious fleet renewal and expansion program will see Air India operate the most advanced and fuel-efficient aircraft across our route network within five years,” Air India Chief Executive Campbell Wilson said in a statement.
The Airbus part of the order comprises 210 A320neo and A321neo narrowbody jets and 40 A350 widebodies. Boeing’s part of the order is for 190 narrowbody 737 MAXs, plus 20 787 Dreamliner and 10 777X widebodies.
“We are excited to be a key partner in the reinvention of the Flying Maharaja. Under the leadership of the Tata Group and a focussed new management, this is one of the most ambitious projects in the airline business today,” Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Airbus said.
“The fuel-efficient mix of next-generation airplanes including the 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777X will sustainably power Air India’s future fleet in the world’s fastest-growing commercial aviation market,” Stan Deal, President and CEO, of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said.
The buying spree by Indian airlines adds to signs of strong global demand for civilian aircraft as travel rebounds from the pandemic and airlines look to reduce their environmental impact with more fuel-efficient new models.
However, planemakers and their suppliers remain concerned about their ability to meet bulging order books amid rising costs, parts shortages, and a scarcity of skilled workers.
Air India, with its maharajah mascot, was once known for its lavishly decorated planes and stellar service, but its reputation declined in the mid-2000s as financial troubles mounted.
Its renaissance under the Tata conglomerate aims to capitalize on India’s growing base of fliers and large diaspora, currently mostly served by foreign rivals such as Emirates.
– Paris Air Show Dominated By Indian Carriers; Air India Signs Deal With Boeing, India West, June 21, 2023
– Paris air show Order Tracker: IndiGo deal and Air India confirmation lead show business, Flight Global, June 22, 2023
– Air India Signs Purchase Agreement At Paris Air Show For Massive February Order, Simple Flying, June 23, 2023
– Paris air show: India centre stage as another big jet deal lands, Reuters, June 20, 2023