Air India, the flag carrier of India, is readying for a massive operational expansion, placing two of the largest airline orders ever for both a South Asia and international carrier.
The first is a $34 billion Boeing order that includes 190 Boeing 737 MAXs, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777Xs. It also includes options to buy another 50 737 MAXs and 20 Boeing 787s. If all the options are exercised, it would come to 290 airplanes for $45.9 billion.
According to Boeing, the deal, when finalized, will be the largest Boeing order in South Asia and the third-largest Boeing order of all time.
"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, of 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."
At the same time, the Tata Group, which owns Air India, placed a separate order for 250 planes from Airbus, which includes 210 A320neo narrowbody planes and 40 A350 widebody aircraft. According to Airbus, that order will mark “a new era for the country as the all-new, long-range aircraft celebrates its debut in the Indian market.”
The Airbus deliveries are expected to start with the first A350-900 arriving by late-2023.
“India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honored that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air connectivity,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.
“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.”
Earlier this year, India was expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation at 1.416 billion, a few million more than China. The Tata group, which took full control of Air India and its subsidiaries in 2022, expects the demand for air travel from the Indian population to continue to increase as the country, and its diaspora, continues to grow.