Air India signs ‘historic’ deal to purchase 250 aircraft from Airbus; its first purchase order in 17 years

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Tata-group owned Air India on Tuesday announced that it will purchase 250 aircraft from Airbus. The deal which is worth more than $50 million is reportedly Air India’s first aircraft purchase in around 17 years and is also the first order under the ownership of Tata Group. The deal, as per N Chandrasekaran, the company’s chairman, is aimed at transforming the former national carrier, as well as expanding its operations. PTI reports that the acquisition of 250 aircraft will include 40 wide-body A350 planes and 210 narrow-body aircraft. The wide-body planes, as per Chandrasekaran, will be used for long-haul flights. 

“Today I’m happy to say that we have signed a letter of intent to acquire 250 aircraft,” said Chandrasekaran at a joint press conference he held with Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury.

Watch | India: Air India seals order for 500 jets from Airbus, Boeing

Also present at the virtual announcement of the deal were Indian PM Narendra Modi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who hailed it as a “landmark” and an “achievement”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the deal and said that the nation’s growing aviation sector in the next 15 years would require over 2,000 aircraft. He remarked that in the near future, India will emerge as the third-biggest market in the world in the aviation sector.

“Our civil aviation sector is an integral part of India’s development. Strengthening the civil aviation sector is an important aspect of our national infrastructure policy,” said Modi.

Hailing the Air India-Airbus deal as a “landmark,” the PM said that it reflects deepening ties between France and India. He also said that the partnership between the two nations is playing a key role in ensuring stability and balance of the international order and the multilateral system.

“Whether it is the issue of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, or global food security and health security, India and France together are making a positive contribution”.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron said that the Air India-Airbus deal “shows that Airbus and all its French partners are fully dedicated to develop new areas of cooperation with India”.

He further added, “The end of the pandemic should lead to more exchanges between our two countries. Students, scientists, artists, businessmen, women, tourists all are most welcome to France and I encourage Indians to come and be part of this French Indian friendship.”

Air India’s last aircraft purchase was made in 2005 for 111 planes; 68 of which were from Boeing and 43 from Airbus.

(With inputs from agencies)

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