In mother of all aviation deals, India divvies a 510 plane order between US and France


WASHINGTON: At a pivotal moment in Indian history, Tipu Sultan reached out to Napoleon Bonaparte, seeking French help in defeating the British in Mysore. But the French were busy helping American revolutionaries outside Washington and never turned up for Tipu. On Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Aero India show in what was Tipu’s stomping ground (Yelahanka) near Bengaluru, both the French and Americans were beneficiaries of India’s munificence, snagging orders for nearly 500 commercial planes divvied between them.
In what was described as the mother of all aviation deals, Indian water unveiled orders for 250 Airbus aircraft and 220 Boeing planes, with option to buy 70 more, in a transaction expected to be worth more than $85 billion. So important is the order for the French and American economies that leaders of both countries stepped up to talk about it both in the domestic and global context.

“This purchase will support over one million American jobs across 44 states, and many will not require a four-year college degree,” President Biden said in a statement, adding that the announcement also “reflects the strength of the US-India economic partnership.”

“Together with Prime Minister ModiI look forward to deepening our partnership even further as we continue to confront shared global challenges—creating a more secure and prosperous future for all of our citizens,” he added.
Biden followed up with a phone call to Modi in which the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the “deepening of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, which has resulted in robust growth in all domains.”
“They welcomed the announcement of a landmark agreement between Air India and Boeing as a shining example of mutually beneficial cooperation that will help create new employment opportunities in both countries. Prime Minister invited Boeing and other US companies to make use of the opportunities arising due to the expanding civil aviation sector in India,” a readout by the PMO said.
The two leaders also welcomed the first meeting of the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) held recently in Washington D.C, and expressed a keen desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation in space, semi-conductors, supply chains, defence co-production and co-development and knowledge and innovation ecosystems. They agreed to bolster the vibrant people-to-people ties between the two countries, which have been mutually beneficial, the readout said, adding the two Leaders agreed to remain in contact during India’s ongoing G20 Presidency to ensure its success.
Macron likewise said the agreement “marks a new stage in India and France’s strategic partnership” while thanking Prime Minister Modi “for your confidence in France and our industry.”
The Boeing order, valued at $ 34 billion, will include 190 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777Xs. The deal include options for an additional 50 737 MAXs and 20 of its 787s, which would make it 290 airplanes for a total of $45.9 billion at list price.
Separately, the Airbus order will see Air India acquire 40 wide-body A350 Airbus aircraft and 210 narrow-body A320neo planes.
Together, they constitute the largest deal in aviation history.
The delivery schedule for both orders are yet to be finalized, but according to aviation experts, Air India is expected to get the first batch of A350s — originally earmarked for Russia’s Aeroflot before war-related sanctions on Moscow — later this year.
The acquisitions by Air India is expected to win it back some of the market share it has lost over the years to Gulf and western airlines. India is widely acknowledged to be one of the fastest growing domestic airline markets in the world, with a surging diaspora offering revenues on major international routes.


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