Battered during its state-owned days, Air India was taken over by the Tata group with an ambitious goal of resuming its leading role in the country’s air travel market, one of the fastest growing in the world.
India’s best-known carrier is now preparing to announce orders for jets from Airbus and Boeing that could reach 500 aircraft, according to Reuters.
Sources heard by the news agency stated that the airline should order around 400 narrow-body jets and 100 widebodies. Among the models considered are the Airbus A350, the Boeing 787 and the 777 – the news agency did not specify versions.
If the agreements are confirmed, they will mean a unique investment that could reach figures of US$ 100 billion in list prices – the real value is lower due to the negotiation between the manufacturers and the company.
The last time an airline announced such a huge deal was in July 2011 when American Airlines ordered 260 A320 family jets and 200 Boeing 737s. List value at the time was estimated at US$38 billion.
New partner: Singapore Airlines
The imminent mega-order comes at a time when the Tata group has entered into a partnership with Singapore Airlines so that the two are partners in the merger between Vistara and Air India.
While Vistara operates a modern fleet, which includes A320neo family aircraft and 787 widebodies, Air India has 112 aircraft, including older jets such as the A319, A320 and A321 and Boeing 777.
There are also 27 A320neo and another 27 787 Dreamliner, which may indicate a tendency to reinforce these fleets in the midst of new agreements.
Should the announcement occur by the end of the year, it could join another big order about to be unveiled by United Airlines, according to rumors. The US airline’s order for up to 100 787s will help lift Boeing’s backlog in 2022.