The Tata group-owned Air India has signed a letter of intent with European aerospace major Airbus to purchase 250 aircraft, including 210 narrow-body jets from the A320 neo family and 40 wide-body A350 aircraft, said Tata group chairman N Chandrasekaran in an online announcement made on Tuesday in the presence of the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and the French President Emmanuel Macron.
An announcement on Air India's plans to purchase Boeing aircraft is expected to come later in the day.
The 210 narrow-body Airbus jet order includes 170 A320 neo and 40 A321neo aircraft and will be largely deployed on domestic and short haul international routes. “The A350 will be used to fly ultra-long distances across the globe. We have significant options to increase the fleet order once we grow,” said Chandrasekaran. “One of our ambitions for this country is to bring in commercial aircraft manufacturing at some time in the future. We see this moment as the most significant moment for tata group, Indian aviation and for manufacturing sector in India,” he said. “We on our part are going through a massive transformation because were committed to building a world class airline known for safety, OTP, best of Indian hospitality and modern fleet and a wholesome experience for every passenger whether in the front or last row,” he said.
Guillaume Faury, CEO Airbus called it a "historic moment for India and Air India”. “The magnitude of the Air India order demonstrates the appetite for growth in the Indian aviation industry. It is the fastest growing in the world,” he said. “Time is right for India to turn into an international hub and we believe the A350 will trigger a change of paradigm in long haul travel that matches the aspiration of India and its people.. The A350 will turn into a new flagship of India’s transcontinental service,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi said the deal demonstrates the deepening relationship between India and France and is also a reflection of India’s successes and expectations of India's civil aviation sector. “In the near future India will become the third largest market in the world in the aviation sector. According to several estimates, India will need over 2000 aircraft in the next 15 years. Under `Make in India’ several new opportunities are emerging in the field of aerospace manufacturing, he said.
French president Macron said: “This achievement shows that Airbus and all its French partners including Safran are fully dedicated to develop new areas of cooperation with India.”
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