Air India becomes new Boeing 777X customer amid order for 220 planes

Agreement with Indian carrier is Boeing’s third-biggest sale ever by dollar value and second-biggest by aircraft quantity

Hours after confirming a mega order for 250 aircraft from Airbus, the carrier Air India also closed a huge deal with Boeing involving 220 aircraft, as expected.

The order, which the White House called a “historic agreement between the two companies”, was announced by US President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

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Air India’s deal with Boeing includes firm orders for 190 737 MAX jets (737-8 and 737-10), 20 787 Dreamliner (787-9) and 10 777X (777-9) models, making the Indian company the 12th customer of the new generation 777 – the commercial debut of the 777-9 is planned for 2025.

The deal also includes purchase options for an additional 50 737 MAX and 20 787, totaling 290 aircraft. The contract value could reach up to US$45.9 billion if the Indian carrier exercises all choices.

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

State-owned Air India has been making losses for many years (Julian Herzog)

Air India’s new order is the third-biggest sale in Boeing history by dollar value and second-biggest by aircraft quantity, the White House said.

“These new airplanes will enable us to dramatically expand our network, both domestically and internationally, and will come with a completely new, world-class onboard product enabling passengers to travel in the highest levels of comfort and safety,” celebrated Campbell Wilson, CEO from Air India.

“Air India’s selection of Boeing’s family of passenger jets shows their confidence in our products and services in the world’s fastest growing aviation market, and their decision will support engineering and manufacturing jobs at Boeing factories in Washington state, South Carolina and across our supply base, ” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Massive group in India

India’s most traditional airline, Air India is experiencing a moment of great expansion. The company, which was controlled by the state, was taken over by the Tata group in partnership with Singapore Airlines, in early 2022.

Tata and its partner plan to merge Air India with newcomer Vistara, which is also controlled by the two companies through a joint venture.

With the union of the two Indian carriers, the group hopes to increase competitiveness in the local market with the low-cost SpiceJet and Indigo, which is currently the largest airline in the country – Air India is the third, behind Vistara.

Air India’s recent partnership with the Tata group is a throwback to the past. The airline was founded in 1932 precisely by the Indian conglomerate, which named the company Tata Airlines, a brand that was in force until 1947.


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