Air India orders 470 aircraft from Airbus, Boeing

A rendering of the Airbus models ordered. Photo: © Airbus

Indian airline Air India has signed long-awaited agreements with both Airbus and Boeing for the combined purchase of 470 new aircraft, the largest ever order from a single airline by volume. First deliveries are expected at the end of the year and will run through the next decade.

The deal with European manufacturer Airbus covers 250 planes and includes 140 A320neo, 70 A321neo, 6 A350-900 and 34 A350-1000 aircraft. Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi announced the deal together with French President Emmanuel Macron, even though the airline was privatized two years ago and is now once again a part of the Tata Group.

Similarly, Modi and US President Joe Biden announced a deal for the purchase of 220 aircraft from Boeing, which includes orders for 190 737 Max 8 and 10, 20 787-9 Dreamliner and 10 777-9X. Unlike the deal with Airbus, Air India also opted to take on 50 additional options for the 737 Max and 20 options for the 787 models. It is also the first new order for the passenger version of the 777X program in over two years.

Air India was founded in 1933 as Tata Airlines and was later nationalized in 1948 after India achieved independence from the United Kingdom. After years of loss-making and several failed attempts to privatize the airline again, Tata group purchased Air India in 2021 for $2,3 billion from the government and has since announced several programs to modernize Air India, which includes this historic agreement with Airbus and Boeing.