DALLAS — Air India (AI) has officially confirmed an order of 250 aircraft from Airbus. Reports on February 14, 2023, indicate that this order includes 40 A350 wide-body aircraft and 210 single-aisle A320-family aircraft.
Additionally, Boeing has confirmed that AI has selected 190 Boeing 737 MAXs, including 737-8 and 737-10, 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and 10 Boeing 777-9s. The order includes options for 70 more Boeing jets. It is worth noting that the Airbus and Boeing orders are commitments and not firm orders.
In a joint video call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, Tata Group Chairman N. Chandrasekaran announced the long-awaited order. He also noted that the order could be increased as the airline expands its operations under its Vihaan AI program.
The Airbus order is believed to make up slightly more than half of AI’s large-scale re-fleeting plan, which could soon include an additional 220 aircraft from Boeing, bringing the total number of new aircraft to 470. The announcement was made during the Aero India 2023 airshow, which is taking place from February 13 to 17, 2023, in Bengaluru.
Confirming what had already been reported in Indian media, the announcement also highlighted the interest of the parties involved in bringing some of the Airbus commercial aircraft production to India due to the large volume of civilian aircraft orders placed in the country.
Largest Aircraft Orders in History
With the official confirmation from Tata Group, AI now joins the ranks of airlines with the largest aircraft orders from a single airline.
Notable mentions include American Airlines (AA), which holds the record for the most aircraft ordered at the same time. In 2011, the carrier announced the purchase of 460 narrowbody aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing. This included 260 Airbus A320 jets, and 200 Boeing 737 family aircraft, all to be delivered from 2013 to 2022. The deal was valued at over US$38bn.
A year later, Jakarta-based Lion Air (JT) finalized a firm order for 201 Boeing 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs (extended range). The agreement also included purchase rights for an additional 150 aircraft. In 2017, UAE-based flydubai (FZ) announced a commitment for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The deal was valued at US$27bn.
And let’s not forget that in 2021, United Airlines (UA) announced an order of 270 single-aisle planes from Boeing and Airbus. It was the largest for the industry by a single carrier, valued at US$34bn.
Airbus’ largest order to date came from US private equity fund Indigo Partners in 2017. This was for 430 A320neo aircraft, specifically 274 A320neos and 156 larger A321neos.
Featured image: Air India VT-EXM Airbus A320-251N. Photo: Alberto Cucuni/Airways