European planemaker Airbus is set to win an order for 235 single-aisle planes as part of a historic purchase of some 495 jets due to be announced by a resurgent Air India on January 27, industry sources told Reuters.
The deal, roughly split with rival Boeing, covers a total of 425 single-aisle jets including 235 Airbus A320neo-family planes as well as 190 Boeing 737 MAX airliners. The order is also expected to include up to 70 widebody long-haul aircraft including up to 40 Airbus A350s as well as some 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777X, the sources said.
Airbus declined to comment. Air India and Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It was reported last month that Air India was close to placing orders for around 500 jets from both Airbus and Boeing after months of intense talks on the core plane order.
Industry sources said finalising the deal depended on ongoing negotiations with engine makers, but two people familiar with the matter said talks were mostly complete. Such a deal would rank among the biggest by a single airline in volume terms, overshadowing a combined order for 460 Airbus and Boeing jets from American Airlines over a decade ago.
Next Friday’s likely announcement comes a year to the day after the Tata Group conglomerate regained control of Air India, launching an ambitious shake-up and renewal of the flag carrier that entrepreneur J.R.D. Tata originally founded in 1932.
Air India, with its maharajah mascot, was once known for its lavishly decorated planes and stellar service but its reputation declined in the mid-2000s as financial troubles mounted. Tata Group has said it plans to transform the previously state-run carrier into a “world-class airline” in five years. The deal consolidates Airbus’ position in India as the leading supplier of narrow-body planes.
IndiGo, the country’s largest carrier, is the biggest customer for Airbus’ A320neo family. It is also, however, a breakthrough for Boeing which has been lagging behind Airbus in the fast-growing market, where its customers include start-up Akasa Air and SpiceJet.
(With Inputs from Reuters)