As announced by CargoForwarder Global on 22JAN23, Air India has placed a firm order for 470 aircraft: 250 of them from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. In total, it is the largest-ever order, surpassing a previous deal with American Airlines more than a decade ago for 460 jetliners provided by both the European and U.S. frame makers. Surprisingly, however, cargo aircraft are not part of the package placed by Air India.
Air India to reestablish itself as global player
While revealing the specifics of the contracts, Natarajan Chandrasekaran (59) - Chairman of Air India’s new owner, the Tata Group - said that the industrial heavyweight is determined to revive Air India as a major global player: "We are going through a massive transformation because we are committed to building a world-class airline known for safety, on-time performance, the best of Indian hospitality, a modern fleet, and a wholesome experience for every passenger."
This is more than a wake-up call for Air India, which has struggled for years with a reputation for poor service, delays, and aging planes. Words carefully listened to by Air India CEO, Campbell Wilson. The executive said that besides the order, the carrier has secured a number of options and purchase rights. "These give us the option, but not the obligation, to take additional aircraft at already-negotiated production slots and/or prices, so that we can nimbly accommodate further growth and manage risk."
Part-production in India?
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi described it as a "landmark deal" while virtually attending the Air India-Airbus deal. During negotiations, the Indian government tried to press Airbus to set up a production line in the country, following the examples of the plants in Tianjin, China or Mobile, USA. However, this has been rebuffed by the aircraft producer. Industrial spin-offs, however, are expected.
This Thursday (16FEB23), Airbus will publish its financial results for 2022. On this occasion, the management usually announces its targets for the current year - including a forecast of how many aircraft will be delivered until 31DEC23.
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