Deliveries are set to commence with the first A350-900 arriving by the end of 2023
Air India has placed one of the world’s latest aircraft orders split between Airbus and Boeing. The value of the commitment for more than 500 short- and long-haul aircraft is estimated to be as much as US$75 billion, although an official figure was not disclosed.
The Tata Group-owned Air India order comprises 250 Airbus aircraft and up to 290 Boeing jets including 737 Max, 787 Dreamliner and 777X models.
The order will 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.
India is projected to grow to have the largest population in the world over the next decade, while its economy will expand the fastest among the G20 nations. A burgeoning middle class is forecast to spend more on air travel to destinations in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific region.
Air India chief executive Campbell Wilson said: “These new airplanes will enable us to dramatically expand our network, both domestically and internationally, and will come with a completely new, world-class onboard product enabling passengers to travel in the highest levels of comfort and safety.”
The purchase of new aircraft underpins a transformation and growth strategy by the Indian airline.
Wilson added: “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.”
Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said: “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.
“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.”
Boeing commercial airplanes chief executive Stan Deal added: “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 state, South Carolina and across our supply base.”