Air India set to place biggest ever global order of 500 aircraft

Jumbo order to include short and long-haul planes

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Air India has resumed flights between Delhi and Milan.

A year after coming into the Tata fold, Air India is ready to flex its muscles through a fresh order for short and long-haul planes which will be the largest-ever in the world till date by any airline in one go.The airline is likely to soon place orders for around 500 aircraft comprising Airbus A320neos, A321, A350, Boeing 737Max, 787, 777X and 777 freighters. These could come at a cost of $70 billion, as per rough estimates by market watchers.

While Air India is yet to officially declare details of its purchases, a senior company official had claimed in November that the airline will place ‘historic orders’ for aircraft soon for which it was in dialogue with Boeing, Airbus and engine makers.With an aim to offer the best experience in air travel, Air India is securing aircraft supplies for the future as deliveries will be spread over the course of several years.

The airline currently has a mix of new and aging aircraft of different varieties from both of the world’s leading plane manufacturers. InterGlobe Aviation-owned IndiGo, which has the largest fleet in the country comprising 300 aircraft, is awaiting deliveries of more than 400 aircraft from Airbus. India’s newest airline Akasa had placed an order for 72 Boeing planes a few months ago.”Air India’s goal is to strengthen its market share in the international and domestic arenas, as well as improving the standard of the existing fleet.

The impending (and recent) fleet moves show that the new owners are obviously committed to invest the vast sums needed to achieve these goals,” Centre for Aviation (CAPA), a business intelligence providing company stated.At the aggregated level, Air India is targeting to capture 30% market share in the domestic market over the next 5 years. This would be done through the merger of full service carrier Vistara and low cost carriers Air India Express and AirAsia India.Making broken hand rest and torn cushioning of seats a thing of the past, Air India is infusing $400 million to refurbish the interiors of the entire wide body fleet. The expenses would include installation of new in-flight entertainment systems across the cabin classes.

Addressing Air India employees on the occasion of the completion of one year of its buyout by the Tata group, Campbell Wilson, managing director and CEO, Air India said “Together we have embarked upon one of the most ambitious turnarounds in international aviation history. We have set out to create an airline that ranks amongst the best in the world, and will proudly represent the new India on the global stage.

And we have made quite remarkable progress in a very short space of time.”Air India claims to have kick-started ‘hundreds of initiatives’ across 22 broad workstreams to transform the airline over three phases – taxi, take off and climb.”The progress over the last 12 months has been nothing short of stunning, even if so much of what we have been working on has been behind the scenes, building platforms and capabilities so that our future ambitions can take flight. There is, of course, much more that needs to be done, and everyone – internally and externally – is hungry for us to do it,” Wilson added.

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First published on: 28-01-2023 at 05:30 IST