In the last few months, the rumor mill has been buzzing with talks about Air India placing a large aircraft order. With no concrete details, many tried to figure out whether it would be an even order or if the scales would tip the favor one of the two major aerospace manufacturers.
We can finally put a rest to those rumors as Air India has confirmed the details behind its order.
According to the Tata Sons-owned airline, Air India has placed an order for 470 aircraft split across a combination of narrow and wide bodies with 220 going to Boeing and 250 going to Airbus, as follows:
The airline should start taking delivery from as early as late 2023, with the bulk of those deliveries taking place in 2025. As suggested by OMAAT, it’s possible that the order was split across various types and brands to take advantage of shorter term delivery slots rather than waiting 5+ years in order to build a more consistent fleet.
It’s no surprise that Air India has gone through the trenches in its many years of service, but the Tata Group seems to be intent on bringing the airline to world class status. The conglomerate is merging a number of brands into one including Air India, Air India Express, Air Asia India and Vistara as part of its transformation plans.
Commenting on the occasion, Tata Sons and Air India Chairman, Mr N. Chandrasekaran, said: “Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation. This order is an important step in realising Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world class proposition serving global travellers with an Indian heart. These new aircraft will modernise the Airline’s fleet and onboard product, and dramatically expand its global network. The growth enabled by this order will also provide unparalleled career opportunities for Indian aviation professionals and catalyse accelerated development of the Indian aviation ecosystem.”
All new deliveries will feature entirely new cabins, IFE systems and more, all of which go in line with their plans to retrofit their existing long haul 787 and 777 aircraft.
With the combination of Air India and Vistara’s fleet, it would make the airline the biggest in India post-merger, also putting them in a very good position to tackle other domestic carriers such as SpiceJet and IndiGo. Hopefully this order sparks a proper transition as flying new toys alone won’t change an airline’s image.
[Featured Photo: Boeing]