On Transformation Journey – Chairman Chandrasekaran

PM Modi says the rapid growth of the civil aviation market in India will give impetus to greater connectivity between India and the rest of the world

NEW DELHI, Feb 15 (The CONNECT) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a video call with President of France Emmanuel Macron, Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of the Board, Tata Sons, Campbell Wilson, CEO, Air India and Guillaume Faury, CEO Airbus, on the occasion of the launch of a partnership between Air India and Airbus.

Air India and Airbus have signed a contract for the supply of 250 aircraft, 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s to Air India.

Air India has also signed letters of intent with Boeing to acquire both widebody and single-aisle aircraft – 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s widebody aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft. The A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines, and the B777/787s by engines from GE Aerospace. All single-aisle aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International.

In his address, Prime Minister highlighted the rapid expansion and growth of the civil aviation market in India which will give impetus to greater connectivity between India and the rest of the world, and will in turn encourage tourism and business in India.

Complimenting the strong presence of French companies in India, Prime Minister also recalled the recent decision by French aerospace engine manufacturer SAFRAN to set up its largest MRO facility in India to service aircraft engines for both Indian and international carriers.

Prime Minister thanked President Macron for his partnership in taking the India-France relationship forward and looked forward to working with him under India’s G20 Presidency.

Air India Chairman, Mr N Chandrasekaran, said: “Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation. This order is an important step in realising Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world class proposition serving global travellers with an Indian heart. These new aircraft will modernise the Airline’s fleet and onboard product, and dramatically expand its global network. The growth enabled by this order will also provide unparalleled career opportunities for Indian aviation professionals and catalyse accelerated development of the Indian aviation ecosystem.”

The first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, with the bulk to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion. The acquisition of new aircraft, which will come with an entirely new cabin interior, complements Air India’s previously announced plan to refit its existing widebody B787 and B777 aircraft with new seats and inflight entertainment systems. The first of these refitted aircraft will enter service in mid-2024. The Air India group currently comprises full-service Air India, as well as two low-cost subsidiaries Air India Express and Air Asia India which are in the process of merging. Its parent, Tata Sons, recently announced its intention to merge Air India with full-service airline Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines in which the former holds a 51% share. In steady state, subject to regulatory approval, the Group would comprise a single full-service airline, Air India, and a single lowcost airline, Air India Express.