As part of a 250-plane order, Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer of Airbus, announced that Air India will begin receiving narrow-body A320neo family aircraft towards the end of this year. According to him, Air India will also lease some 25 A320neo-family aircraft on the open market, expanding the carrier’s massive aircraft acquisition.
Before we can begin delivering the A320s, those will need to arrive, Airbus CCO Christian Scherer told Reuters.
The procurement will total 495 aircraft, 470 of which were revealed as direct orders on Tuesday and includes 220 Boeing jets. Last month, Reuters reported that Air India was planning to buy a total of 495 aircraft.
The 34 A350-1000 aircraft and six smaller A350-900 aircraft that make up the Airbus portion of the direct purchase were initially intended for the struggling Russian Aeroflot. Additionally, it has 210 single-aisle aircraft, divided between 70 A321neo and 140 A320neo.
When asked if the agreement backed Airbus’ aspirations to increase A350 production, Scherer responded, “It is definitely poised to grow.”
In October, Airbus announced that starting in early 2023, it would increase monthly A350 production from five to six aircraft before examining other options.
To expand its local and international operations, Air India, a company controlled by the Tata Group, has committed to ordering 250 Airbus aircraft. The commitment includes 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900 wide-body jets, as well as 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft. The all-new, long-range aircraft will usher in a new era for the nation when it makes its debut in the Indian market.
The order intends to upgrade and increase the airline’s fleet in order to become a more expansive, full-service carrier that can meet the region’s rising travel demand. By the end of 2023, the first A350-900 is expected to be delivered.
According to Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD of Air India, “Airbus has been a longtime partner of Air India, and these new aircraft will play a significant role in achieving Vihaan.AI, Air India’s holistic transformation and growth strategy. “A key component of this change is the massive local and global extension of our network, together with the improvement of our on-ground and onboard goods to standards of the highest calibre. Beginning with this purchase, a new era for Airbus and Air India.
“This is an important turning point for Airbus and Air India. India is about to experience a revolution in international air travel, and we are honoured that the Tatas and our cooperation will pen this new chapter in the nation’s aviation connectivity “says Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and international head of Airbus. “The A350’s unique capability will release the untapped potential of India’s long-haul market; in addition, its cutting-edge technology, extensive range, and unmatched comfort will enable new routes and improve passenger experiences while improving sustainability and economy. The A320 Family fleets will be the effective, adaptable asset to continue democratising and decarbonizing air travel in the nation, from domestic to international levels, alongside the A350s.”
“We commend Air India for its imaginative strategy, choosing the two reference aircraft models in each of their categories,” continues Christian Scherer. The fact that these planes will serve as the cornerstones of Air India’s resurrection fills us with joy and humility. This fleet will take the airline to the top of the world, where it belongs.
Over the coming ten years, India’s population will increase to become the largest in the world, its economy will develop the quickest among the G20 countries, and a growing middle class will increase air travel spending. Since the A350 is well positioned to service long-haul markets in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific, passenger traffic in India will increase quickly as a result.
One of the most advanced and effective wide-body aircraft in the 300-410 seater range is the A350. Modern technologies and aerodynamics are incorporated into the A350’s brand-new design to give unrivalled levels of comfort and efficiency. Its new generation engines and use of lightweight materials provide it a 25% advantage over competitor aircraft of a previous generation in terms of fuel burn, operating expenses, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The cabin of the aircraft features a three-class layout, is the quietest of any twin-aisle, and provides both passengers and crew with the most cutting-edge in-flight amenities for the most comfortable long-distance flying experience.
The A321neo, the longest-fuselage member of Airbus’ best-selling, single-aisle A320 Family, can accommodate up to 244 people in a higher-density configuration and comfortably seats 180 to 220 passengers in a standard two-class layout. The A320neo has already established itself as the most comfortable short- to medium-haul aircraft in the world, with an usual seating capacity of 140–170 people and a maximum of 180 passengers. Compared to earlier generations of aircraft, its environmental performance enables at least a 20% reduction in fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and noise.
According to industry insiders, Airbus’ production was slowed down to 4.5 a month in late 2022 and is now at 5.6, on track to reach six a month in 2024, where it may remain through 2025, barring any changes with its full-year results on Thursday.
Production of the Air India-backed A350-1000 type, which presently stands at 1.2 jets per month, is expected to climb to 1.8 per month in 2024, two in the first half of 2025, and three in the second half, according to the sources, within that paltry total increase.
Airbus said in October it is producing three of its A330neo jets a month. Industry sources said it plans to reach a rate of four a month in the second half of 2024, up from 2.8 a month now. It is said to be making seven A220s a month with a goal of 10 by end-year.
Sources cautioned production may be further reviewed when Airbus releases full-year results on Thursday. Scherer declined any comment on detailed output numbers ahead of those earnings.