Tata’s Air India to seal half of jumbo jet order: sources

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NEW DELHI, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Air India will seal half of an order for some 495 planes with Boeing (BA.N) and engine suppliers General Electric (GE.N) and CFM International on Friday, sources at the airline said. industry, as its new owner seeks to revive the airline and compete with larger rivals.

After months of closely watched and tough negotiations, Air India is set to place an order for 190 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body jets, as well as some 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777Xs on a day marking one year since Tata Group took over. control of the old state. -operator operated, two sources told Reuters.

The second half of the order, which industry sources told Reuters includes around 235 Airbus (AIR.PA) single-aisle aircraft and around 40 Airbus A350 wide-body jets, is expected to be formally closed in the coming days. .

Senior Boeing officials, including Stanley Deal, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, along with executives from GE and CFM in India, are expected to mark the deal on Friday.

Despite earlier expectations of a single coordinated announcement, it is unclear when any of the deals will be publicly disclosed, especially with the Aero India airshow looming in February when deals like this are usually revealed.

Manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, as well as CFM joint venture partners GE and Safran, declined to comment.

Air India did not respond to a request for comment, but in a note to employees on Friday, marking its first anniversary under Tata ownership, the airline said it is “finalizing a landmark order for new aircraft to fuel future growth.”

Reuters reported last month that Air India was finalizing a deal for about 500 planes.

The order, once finalized, is aimed at placing Air India in the league of the world’s great airlines and making it an influential customer for aircraft manufacturers and suppliers at a time when its home market is experiencing a sharp increase in travel after COVID-19.

India’s domestic air passenger traffic grew 47% in 2022 from a year earlier, government data showed.

Analysts warn that the airline faces intense competition given the connectivity created by domestic and international rivals.

India, set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, has a large underserved air travel market dominated by budget airline IndiGo (INGL.NS). However, most of India’s outbound passenger traffic is carried by Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.


Under its new owners, Air India seeks to restore its reputation at home and abroad as a storied airline with impeccable service and world-class aircraft.

It has brought back into service about 20 planes that had been grounded for years for lack of parts and money. The airline has also said it will spend more than $400 million to revamp its entire legacy widebody fleet of 27 Boeing 787-8s and 13 777s.

The goal is to capture 30% of the national market over the next five years, thus reducing the gap with the market leader, IndiGo. It also wants to increase its share of international travel by “multiples,” said the airline’s chief executive, Campbell Wilson.

Tata’s four airlines, including two budget carriers, Air India and Vistara, its joint venture with Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI), have a combined 24% market share.

Analysts have said that Air India has the ability to win back some passengers from rival Gulf airlines, but not before it matches the quality of its fleet and service. The internal battle with IndiGo will also not happen without stiff competition from an operator that continues to expand.

Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Edited by Elaine Hardcastle, Robert Birsel

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