Mumbai: Air India has agreed to buy 250 jets from Airbus, including 210 narrowbody planes and 40 widebody aircraft, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Group, the airline’s new owner, said on Tuesday.
The deal is part of a huge order by Air India for 470 planes, which is expected to also include an order for 220 planes from Airbus rival Boeing, as the airline heralds a decade-long expansion and reinvents itself under Tata.
“We on our part are going through a massive transformation because we are committed to building a world class airline. One of the most important thing is a modern fleet which is efficient and can perform for all routes,” Chandrasekaran said.
The deal will mark a turning point for Air India which, under new chief executive Campbell Wilson, is working to revive its reputation as a world-class airline and shake off its image of being a tardy, run-down operation with an ageing fleet and poor service.
Air India’s order is expected to top American Airlines’ combined deal for 460 Airbus and Boeing planes more than a decade ago - making it the single largest deal by an airline.
Reuters in December reported that Air India was in negotiations for a deal close to 500 planes.
Even after significant expected discounts, the deal would be worth tens of billions of dollars at a volatile time for plane giants whose jets are again in demand after the pandemic, but who face mounting industrial and environmental pressures.