The industrial conglomerate Tata Group, current owner of Air India, would be close to finalizing an order for up to fifty Airbus A350 aircraft for the airline, as reported by Bloomberg. The agreement would also include up to one hundred A321neo. The company will be able to present the most modern wide-body aircraft of the European manufacturer during the first quarter of 2023.
If the order is finalized, it would mean an important step for the manufacturer in the Asian country. The commercial airline market in India was, until the beginning of the pandemic, the fastest growing in the world. Current projections seem to confirm this trend for the coming years.
Interestingly, says Aviacionline, no airline based in the country operates wide-body aircraft produced by Airbus. Jet Airways was a customer of the A330 until the end of its operations. Now, the segment is dominated by its main competitor, Boeing. Air India, for example, operates the 777-200, 777-300 and 787-8 models on its long-haul routes.
Airbus dominates the single-aisle aircraft market. IndiGo, Vistara, Go Airlines India and AirAsia India operate the A230neo and A321neo models.
On the other hand, the operation would be the first of its kind for the airline since 2006, when it placed purchase orders for 111 aircraft. At the time, it ordered 68 aircraft from Boeing (including units of the 787-8) and 43 from Airbus. Deliveries continued progressively until 2018.
In January of this year, the Tata Group completed the absorption of Air India, which had been announced in October 2021 by the Indian government. Three months later, Airbus held an A350 demonstration and promotion tour of Asia. Rémi Maillard, President and CEO of Airbus for India and South Asia, said then that the company wanted to increase its market share in the country. In turn, directors of the Tata Group showed interest in the products.
The operation would be timely for both. On the one hand, Airbus would increase its sales. On the other hand, Air India would streamline and boost its operations with one of the most efficient aircraft currently available and strengthen its position in one of the markets with the best growth prospects.
The coming weeks should bring interesting news in this Indian plan.