Air India yesterday made its much-anticipated new aircraft order to replenish and modernise its fleet.
The order comprises 470 aircraft across both Airbus and Boeing manufacturers, and across both its short-, medium- and long-haul fleets.
The airline, owned by Tata Sons, hopes to re-establish itself as a major player in India’s booming air travel market, amid strong competition from new and low-cost carriers, as well as international airlines.
Air India’s Aircraft Order
The order placed by Air India comprises:
- 6x Airbus A350-900
- 34x Airbus A350-1000
- 140x Airbus A320neo
- 70x Airbus A321neo
- 190x Boeing 737 MAX
- 20x Boeing 787 Dreamliners
- 10x Boeing 777-9
Options for a further 50x Boeing 737 MAX and 20x 787-9 have also been taken.
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.”
When Will the New Aircraft Arrive?
The first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, with the bulk to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion.
The new aircraft will come with an entirely new cabin interior. Air India’s previously announced plan to refit its existing widebody B787 and B777 aircraft with new seats and inflight entertainment systems. The first of these refitted aircraft will enter service in mid-2024.
A Boost for the 777X
Air India’s order is a boost for Boeing’s upcoming, delayed, 777X programme.
The flagship 777-9 – the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet — will be the largest aircraft in Air India’s fleet, enabling it to fly passengers non-stop and in enhanced comfort to almost any long-haul destination.