Airbus on Tuesday said it will deliver the first A350 aircraft to Air India by the end of this year and that the deal with the airline also marks the European aviation major's "emphatic return" to the wide-body segment in India, which is the fastest growing aviation market.
As it looks to expand the fleet as well as operations, Tata Group-owned Air India on Tuesday announced that it will buy 250 planes from Airbus -- 210 from the A320 neo family and 40 A350.
Remi Maillard, President and Managing Director of Airbus India and South Asia, said the company was very proud that the Tata Group has chosen A350 and A320 planes for Air India, adding that the magnitude of the order shows the appetite for growth in the Indian aviation industry, which is the fastest growing aviation market.
"A320 neo is the poster child of democratisation and transformation of the commercial aviation industry in India. This Air India order marks the emphatic return of Airbus in the wide-body market in India. It is a validation of the A350 leadership position in the wide-body market," he told PTI in an interview.
Currently, the wide-body aircraft segment is dominated by rival Boeing.
Without disclosing pricing details about the 250 aircraft, Maillard said the order will comprise 210 A320 neo family, 140 A320 neo and 70 A321 neo, as well as 40 A350 aircraft -- 34 A350-1000 and 6 A350-900.
Currently, around 470 commercial aircraft of Airbus are in service in India. With the latest order from Air India, the total order book of Airbus for India will be around 850 planes.
On Tuesday, Air India said it has signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing to acquire both wide-body and single-aisle aircraft.
"The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s wide-body aircraft, as well as 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos 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," it said in a release.