Air India’s mega-deal for 470 narrow and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft will be valued at $70 billion (~Rs 5.8 lakh crore at current exchange dollar-rupee exchange), said CEO Campbell Wilson, as reported by Reuters on Monday. Wilson said that while the first year of the takeover has gone in making investments into the airline, this year will be focused on hiring, expansion, among other things. Also, matters like recruiting 500 cabin crew every month, shortage of pilots and crew will be addressed in the coming weeks. Air India is looking at opportunities to expand on international long haul routes.
Earlier this month, Air India had announced provisional deals for 220 aeroplanes from Boeing and 250 aircraft from Airbus. The order will be funded with a combination of resources including internal cash flow, shareholder equity and sale-and-leaseback of aircraft, Wilson said. “We have committed to a historic order of new aircraft that will start entering the fleet from the end of this year through the end of the decade, to both transform the fleet and power significant network and capacity expansion,” he said.
The deal size might even expand further if Air India decides to acquire another 370 aircraft, taking the overall deal size to 840 aircraft. According to reports, a significant number of deliveries are set to commence from mid-2025, scheduled over ten years. “We don’t have a timeline… will evaluate the market,” Wilson said while talking about the additional purchase of 370 planes.
Tata Group, in November last year, had announced the consolidation of its airlines Vistara and Air India, in order to make Air India a “leading domestic and international carrier with a combined fleet of 218 aircraft, making it India’s largest international carrier and second largest domestic carrier”, the company website had said. Air India has announced that it will induct 500 cabin crew every month and only last week, announced that it will hire over 4,200 cabin crew and 900 pilots. “Air India has embarked on probably the greatest transformation in aviation history,” Wilson added.