Air India, Air India aircraft
It's proving to be a busy couple of days for Air India - first there was the aircraft orders and now comes the one for engines. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A day after confirming its new aircraft orders, Air India has parked one for jet engines. The Tata-owned airline has awarded Rolls-Royce the ‘biggest ever order’ of Trent XWB-97 engines through an MOU for 68 (plus 20 options). In addition, the order covers 12 Trent XWB-84 engines too.

This is the 'biggest ever' order for the Trent XWB-97, which is exclusively used for the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Air India's 12 Trent XWB-84 engines are the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900.

"This is the first time that an Indian airline has ordered the Trent XWB and the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world," said a statement issued by Rolls-Royce.

Financial details of the order are not being disclosed.

“We are delighted to commence this partnership with Rolls-Royce, and to have their Trent XWB engines power our new fleet of A350 aircraft," said Campbell Wilson, CEO, Air India. "We are confident that they will provide us with the reliability and efficiency consumers expect of today’s leading airlines, and thereby play an important part in Vihaan.AI, Air India’s comprehensive transformation and growth strategy.”

Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly remarkable occasion for Tata Group and Air India; the size and magnitude of this order reflects the level of their ambition for the future

- Tufan Erginbilgic of Rolls-Royce plc

The Trent XWB advantage

The Trent XWB will help as Air India seeks to regain a higher profile on ultra-long-range routes between India and the US. "The choice of the latest generation of Rolls-Royce engines also reflects Tata Group’s vision for Air India to become the world’s most technologically advanced airline," said Rolls-Royce in a statement.

"Air India is the first Indian airline to order the Trent XWB and the size of the commitment, including options, will make them the biggest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world," said Tufan Erginbilgic, CEO, Rolls-Royce plc.  "With a  growing aviation industry, India is a strategically important market for us and we look forward to working with Air India as they connect their passengers across global communities and cultures.”

Less heavy on consumption
Trent XWB engines have a 15% fuel consumption advantage over the first-generation Trent engines. It is also ready to operate on a 50% Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend.

Rolls-Royce has long-standing partnerships with the Tata Group, including a supply chain commitment with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for the manufacture of a number of parts for the Trent XWB engine in India, as well as several high-precision components for other Rolls-Royce civil aerospace engines. In addition, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) provides engineering services.

Forecasts show that air passenger traffic in India is expected to grow at more than 6 per cent a year and that the industry will require more than 400 medium and large aircraft to support demand. "This makes India a strategically important market for Rolls-Royce as it represents enormous growth potential for its products and services far into the future," the Rolls-Royce statement added.