The 840 figure factors in the need to phase out AI’s old fleet whose poor interiors have over the years a major pain point for passengers, In its last years as a state-owned airline, AI suffered from any lack of investment on upkeep of cabin interiors.
To be sure, the firm order for 470 planes will also be delivered in the next 7-8 years. By the time a sizeable number of them join the fleet, AI can retire its older planes when it will be time to convert the options into firm order to ensure that the fleet remains stable. Being more fuel efficient, a young fleet is a key requisite for profitability.
“It is indeed a landmark moment in the history of Air India and Indian aviation. This order of 840 aircrafts has been a culmination of a fascinating journey that began almost two years ago starting with the Air India privatisation process. The order comprises of 470 firm aircraft, 370 options and purchase rights to be procured from Airbus and Boeing over the next decade. The Airbus firm order comprises 210 A-320/321 Neo / XLR and 40 A350-900/1000. The Boeing firm order comprises 190 737-Max, 20 787s and 10 777s. We have also signed up for long term maintenance of the engines with CFM International (CFM), Rolls-Royce and GE Aerospace,” Aggarwal said on social media.
“This order demonstrates the vision and aspiration of Tata Group to transform Air India into a World Class Airline and connect India “Non-Stop” to every major city in the world. This order is also a testament to the tremendous economic potential unleashed by the Air India privatisation,” he added.
He thanked the airline’s MD-CEO Campbell Wilson, COO Captain R S Sandhu, CTO Arun Kashyap and their teams for their support during this campaign. “A big thank you and forever grateful to Tata Group Chairman N. Chandrasekaran and Tata Group CFO Saurabh Agrawal for setting a high aspiration for Air India, entrusting the team with this opportunity and for the tremendous guidance and support throughout the process,” he added.