The Indian flag carrier is expected to order around 500 new aircraft.

Air India Boeing 777
Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

Air India will reportedly acquire 235 single-aisle Airbus jets as part of a larger order for nearly 500 aircraft, according to an anonymous source for Reuters. The announcement comes as the Indian flag carrier looks to grow its fleet in the hopes of expanding its operation.

The aircraft order

Air India Airbus A320

Photo: Joe Ravi | Shutterstock

Air India has reportedly issued a historically large order for 495 aircraft that includes 425 single-aisle jets from both Airbus and Boeing. The Airbus portion of the order includes 235 A320-neos and 40 A350s, while the Boeing portion includes 190 737 MAXs, 20 787s, and 10 777Xs.

Both aircraft manufacturers have yet to comment on the rumored order. If it goes through, it will be the largest aircraft order by a single airline in aviation history. As of the time of writing of this article, that title is held by American Airlines for its order of 460 Airbus and Boeing jets more than ten years ago.

The order follows a recent trend of bulk orders by several airlines including Delta, United, and WestJet. United, in particular, ordered more than 200 Boeing 787s last year in what marked the airline’s largest-ever aircraft order.

Air India’s pandemic recovery

The aircraft order comes at a time when demand for travel has returned to normal and in some cases even exceed pre-pandemic levels. Air India’s fleet expansion therefore reflects an intention to capitalize on revitalized demand by expanding its flight network and adding new routes that can be flown by its new aircraft.

The carrier has already announced several new routes in recent months, including flights from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, and Kochi. As demand for travel continues to increase, it is not unreasonable to expect that Air India will add even more routes to its flight network in the coming months.

More on Air India

Air India Airbus A319

Photo: BoeingMan777 | Shutterstock

Air India was founded in 1932 by French-Indian industrialist J.R.D. Tata under the name Tata Airlines. The airline joined the Star Alliance in July of 2014 and its main hub is located at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi.

Last year, Air India was reacquired by the Tata Group as part of its privatization, giving the airline a much-needed influx of capital at a time when it was suffering from the pandemic. The acquisition has resulted in several big changes to the carrier, including the recent announcement of a merger with Vistara.

Rumors of Air India’s aircraft order ultimately come at a time when the airline is looking to expand its flight network and benefit from a revitalized demand for travel. Although the airline has had a tough couple of pandemic years, it is taking all of the right steps to get back on its feet and set itself up to profit. Whether or not the carrier’s efforts are successful is something that will be revealed in due time, but for now, other airlines in the region would do well to keep an eye on what may prove to be their most serious competitor.

Source: Reuters


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