Air India today announced that it has signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing to acquire both widebody and single-aisle aircraft.
The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s widebody aircraft, as well as 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft. The A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines and the B777/787s by engines from GE Aerospace. All single-aisle aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International.
Commenting on the occasion, N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Air India, said, “Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation. This order is an important step in realising Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world class proposition serving global travellers with an Indian heart. These new aircraft will modernise the Airline’s fleet and onboard product, and dramatically expand its global network. The growth enabled by this order will also provide unparalleled career opportunities for Indian aviation professionals and catalyse accelerated development of the Indian aviation ecosystem.”
The first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, with the bulk to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion.
The acquisition of new aircraft, which will come with an entirely new cabin interior, complements Air India’s previously announced plan to refit its existing widebody B787 and B777 aircraft with new seats and inflight entertainment systems. The first of these refitted aircraft will enter service in mid-2024.
The Air India group currently comprises full-service Air India, as well as two low-cost subsidiaries Air India Express and Air Asia India which are in the process of merging. Its parent, Tata Sons, recently announced its intention to merge Air India with full-service airline Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines in which the former holds a 51 per cent share. In steady state, subject to regulatory approval, the Group would comprise a single full-service airline, Air India, and a single low-cost airline, Air India Express.