Air India announces landmark deal for up to 290 Boeing aircraft

Render of four Air India Boeings in flight.
Image Credit: Boeing

LONDON – With news of the historic acquisition of 250 Airbus aircraft by Tata Group carrier Air India filtering through today, the much anticipated news of the Group’s Boeing order is now surfacing.

In what now stands as the largest aircraft purchase order in aviation history, Indian airline Air India has firmed a 470 aircraft order with the two major manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

The Airbus component of the bulk order was revealed earlier today, with Indian news sources covering details of the videoconference which took place between the Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the French president Emmanuel Macron.

Following that news, details of the Boeing acquisition are now being made public, with a US White House official intimating that president Joe Biden will formally acknowledge the Air India and Boeing agreement.

At the time of writing, Boeing have now formally advised that the Indian carrier will invest in 190 737 MAX, 20 787 Dreamliner and 10 777X aircraft.

Options for additional aircraft

The agreement between Boeing and Air India includes options for 50 additional 737 MAXs and 20 787-9s.

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

“This acquisition of nearly 300, highly advanced Boeing jets is a core element of Vihaan.AI, the comprehensive transformation and growth strategy we are pursuing at Air India,” said Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India.

“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.”

“With this order, we are delighted to take our long relationship with Boeing to a new level.”

Earlier today with the announcement of the Airbus acquisition, CEO Guillaume Faury characterised the arrangement as an “historic moment for Airbus.” Mr Faury went on to say that the acquisition would “help script Air India’s revival.”

The completion of the Boeing end of the bulk purchase further reinforces the Tata Group’s year long plans for fleet refurbishment to push the carrier’s footprint in both the international and domestic markets.

Boeing CEO statement

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes reinforced the carrier’s intended expansion all plans, stating the following:

“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.”

The 737 MAX will provide flexibility across Air India’s domestic and international network while reducing fuel use and emissions by 20% compared to the airplanes it replaces.

  • The 737-8, seating 162 to 210 passengers, depending on configuration, and with a range of 3,500 nautical miles, is the market’s most versatile single-aisle airplane, capable of operating profitably on short- and medium-haul routes.
  • The 737-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family, offers the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle commercial jet, seating 188 to 230 passengers, depending on configuration with a range of 3,100 nautical miles.

Widebody aircraft fleet

Air India has already benefited from the efficiency and flexibility of the 787 Dreamliner family with an existing fleet of 27 787-8s. The acquisition of the larger 787-9 will provide increased capacity, greater range and 25% better fuel efficiency compared to earlier generation jets.

The flagship 777-9 – the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet — will become the largest airplane in Air India’s fleet, enabling it to fly passengers non-stop and in enhanced comfort to almost any long-haul destination.

  • Unmatched in every aspect of performance, the 777X features a spacious cabin, new custom architecture and innovations from the 787.
  • With new breakthroughs in aerodynamics and engines, the 777-9 will provide 10% lower fuel use and emissions and 10% lower operating costs than the competition.

Scheduled delivery

According to the airline, the first of the new aircraft is planned to enter operational service in late-2023. The bulk of the order is set to arrive from mid-2025 onwards.

Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased Boeing 777 and 25 Airbus A320 aircraft in order to accelerate its fleet and network expansion program.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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