In an effort to rebuild itself under its new owners, Air India has signed a massive deal for roughly 500 new jets valued at more than $100 billion at list prices.
According to industry sources, this order might end up being the single largest ever placed by an airline.
The agreement, divided evenly between rival planemaker Boeing and France’s Airbus, was initially reported by Reuters in December and might eventually be disclosed as soon as next week, according to the sources.
Air India has decided to buy 220 Boeing aircraft, comprising 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 possession of the former state-run carrier, sources told Reuters that Airbus and Air India sealed their agreement on Friday.
The airline announced on January 27 that it was “finalizing a historic order for new aircraft.”
The procurement underlines Air India’s goal to update its aging 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 jets.
Air India would be able to compete with IndiGo on both local and international routes because of the agreement for 400 narrowbodies.
Although the Airbus figure is a little less than the 275 initially planned, the sources did not completely rule out a provision by Air India for more acquisitions or leases down the road.
It was unclear right away whether the figures in the agreement contained any alternatives that would change the ultimate amount after the orders are received.
With the record purchase, Air India hopes to join the ranks of major international airlines and become a significant buyer for suppliers and plane makers at a time when domestic travel is experiencing a sharp increase following COVID-19.
Once renowned for its opulently adorned aircraft and first-rate service, Air India, with its maharajah mascot, saw a downturn in its reputation in the mid-2000s as its financial difficulties grew.
The airline is working to reclaim its illustrious status as a premier provider of first-rate aircraft and excellent service both domestically and internationally under the leadership of its new owners.