Air India, a part of Tata Group, has agreed to buy 250 jets from Airbus, part of a deal for 470 planes that is also expected to include 220 Boeing jets.
The Airbus order includes 210 A320neo narrowbody planes and 40 A350 widebody aircraft. Air India will use them to fly ultra-long routes across the globe, Tata Chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Tuesday.
The combined 470-jet order is the largest by a single airline. Coupled with roughly 25 more Airbus jets that Air India plans to lease to meet its immediate needs, it touches the 500-mark.
The order also marks a turning point for Air India which, under new CEO Campbell Wilson, is working to revive its reputation as a world-class airline and shake off its image as a tardy, run-down operation with an ageing fleet and poor service.
Air India’s order tops American Airlines’ (AAL.O) combined deal for 460 Airbus and Boeing planes more than a decade ago.
The deal includes a major commercial win for engine maker CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and France’s Safran. It has been selected to power 210 Airbus narrowbody jets ahead of rival Pratt & Whitney, while bigger planes will be powered by GE or Britain’s Rolls-Royce.
It will put Air India on a stronger footing to compete with domestic rival IndiGo, which has a majority share of the Indian market and a strong position in regional flights.