Air India is considering ordering as many as 300 narrow-body jets to expand its domestic and regional fleet, and overhaul the fleet under its new owners, the Tatas. This order could be one of the largest orders in commercial aviation history. The airline is in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing for the A320neo family and 737 MAX models. 

Air India’s website lists the airline as having 79 narrowbody jets at the moment, including a mixture of 10 A320 CEO, 22 A319s, 20 A321s, and 27 A320Neo Aircraft. The airline last signed a deal with Kuwait’s ALAFCO to lease 14 Airbus A320neo aircraft in 2016, and these aircraft were delivered by 2019.

Air India may order Airbus A320neo family jets or Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, or a mix of both. A deal could top $40 Billion at list prices. In India, Airbus is the market leader for narrowbody jets, with IndiGo being the largest customer globally for the A320neo family, having ordered more than 700 aircraft. Other airlines such as Vistara, AirAsia India, and GoFirst also operate the A320 family jets. SpiceJet and Air India Express are the only operators of the Boeing 737 aircraft in India, with Akasa having recently started building its fleet of the 737 MAX aircraft. 

The Airbus A320family has an order backlog of 5,768 aircraft as of May 2022, while Boeing’s 737 family has a backlog of 3,379 aircraft. Owing to this, it would be hard for Airbus to accommodate an early delivery schedule for Air India. This could play into a victory for Boeing, as Airbus leads the narrow body market in India. In case the airline does not intend to merge its low-cost Air India Express wing with itself, a part of the order could also be used to overhaul the fleet at Air India Express. 

The airline is considering ordering the Airbus A350 aircraft as well, for long-haul operations, expected to join the fleet in March 2023. 

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Ajay Awtaney
ajay@livefromalounge.com | + posts

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe.

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