The Tata group is likely to close out and announce what is expected to be the largest aviation deal in history within the next few weeks – an announcement which will lead to Air India being equipped with some of the newest and most advanced commercial jetliners.
Within a few years, Air India – which now includes Vistara and Air Asia India – will likely have the youngest fleet in the world once the new aircraft arrive in significant numbers.
NDTV has learned that the Tatas are close to completing negotiations with both Boeing and Airbus for a mix of long, medium and short-medium range aircraft.
The deal size is likely to be worth billions of dollars, with the airline expected to induct significantly more than a hundred aircraft.
The new fleet is likely to see a mix of ultra-long haul jetliners such as the Airbus A-350, large-capacity aircraft such as the Boeing 777X, additional variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in addition to variants of the Airbus A-320 NEO series.
There is a strong possibility that the airline will also acquire variants of the Boeing 737 Max jetliner. Legacy Boeing 737s are already in service with Air India Express.
Air India declined to comment on the exact composition of its future fleet.
Air India is also likely to revamp its livery along with the acquisition of the new aircraft, though an announcement on the new look may not come at the same time as the commercial deal.
Earlier today, Air India committed $400 million to refurbish the interiors of its entire wide-body fleet. Air India said these will now incorporate the “latest generation seats and best-in-class inflight entertainment systems.”
Since acquiring the beleaguered airline from the government in a Rs 18,000 crore deal in October 2021, Air India has increased the size of its fleet by 27 per cent to 100 aircraft.
The average number of daily flights has risen 30 per cent. Weekly international flights have gone up by 63 per cent and 16 new international routes have been launched or announced. The airline says that its average daily revenue has doubled.