In an effort to reinvent itself under its new owners, Air India has signed a jumbo deal for about 500 new planes worth more than $100 billion at list prices. According to industry sources, this could be the airline’s single largest order ever.
The deal, which will be equally split between rival planemaker Boeing and France’s Airbus, was first reported by Reuters in December and could finally be announced as early as next week, according to the sources.
Air India has agreed to buy 220 Boeing aircraft, including 190 of its 737 MAX narrowbody aircraft, 20 of its 787 widebodies, and 10 of its 777Xs, in addition to 250 Airbus aircraft, divided between 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s.
While Boeing and the airline reached an agreement on January 27, one year after Tata reclaimed ownership of the former state-run carrier, sources told Reuters that Airbus and Air India signed their agreement on Friday.
Airbus opted not to respond. An email seeking comment sent outside of regular business hours did not immediately receive a response from Air India.
The airline announced on January 27 that it was “finalising a historic order for new aircraft.”
The order reflects Air India’s strategy to update its outdated fleet and reclaim a sizeable portion of travel between India’s sizable overseas diaspora and cities like Delhi and Mumbai, which is primarily controlled by Gulf rivals like Emirates with its newer aircraft.
The agreement for 400 narrowbodies will also enable Air India to defeat IndiGo on both domestic and international fronts by increasing its share of domestic and regional traffic.
Even though the Airbus number is a little less than the 275 originally planned, the sources did not completely rule out Air India making a provision for later top-up purchases or leases.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the figures in the agreement took into account any options that might change the final total once the orders are received.
The record order aims to elevate Air India to the level of major international carriers and establish it as a significant client for suppliers and planemakers at a time when its domestic market is experiencing a significant post-COVID-19 travel surge.
Air India, with its maharajah mascot, was once renowned for its opulently decorated aircraft and first-rate service, but as its financial problems grew in the mid-2000s, so did the airline’s goodwill.
The airline hopes to rebuild its reputation as a storied provider of first-rate aircraft and impeccable service both domestically and internationally under the leadership of its new owners.
(Adapted from BusinessInsider.com)
Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized
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