Air India creates aviation history, places largest-ever order for 470 aircraft

The Tata group-owned Air India on Tuesday placed the largest-ever aircraft order in global aviation history with letters of intent signed for the purchase of 470 aircraft, a mix of narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The aggregate purchase value at list prices for the 470 firm orders, 160 options, and 210 purchase rights for aircraft is around us $ 115 billion, said sources. Prior to this, the largest aircraft single order placed was in 2011 by AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, which had ordered a mix of 460 narrow body from Boeing and Airbus. 

The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s widebody aircraft, which will be deployed on international long haul routes, and then, 210 Airbus A320/321 neos, 190 Boeing 737 MAX narrow body aircraft that will largely operate the domestic routes. 

In addition to the 470 aircraft on firm order, Air India has secured a number of options and purchase rights for more. A statement issued by the White House said that the 220 firm order for Boeing aircraft was valued at $34 billion at list price. “The (Air India) purchase also includes customer options for an additional 50 Boeing 737 Maxs and 20 Boeing 787s, totaling 290 airplanes for a total of $45.9 billion list price,” the statement said.  

Tata group chairman N Chandrasekaran, in his online speech—made in the virtual presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron—said: “One of our ambitions for this country is to bring in commercial aircraft manufacturing at some time in the future.” 

While Air India’s Airbus aircraft will be assembled in UK and Germany, some of its spare parts will be manufactured in Airbus’s engineering center in Bengaluru. Later in the day, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the “landmark deal between Air India, Airbus and Rolls-Royce”. The A350 aircraft, powered by Rolls-Royce engines, are assembled and tested in Derby. 

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