*****UPDATE: The orders have now been confirmed, with the Boeing agreement also including options for a further 50 B737 Max aircraft, and 20 B787-9s.
The first A350-900 is set to be delivered in late 2023 – the aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines which are assembled and tested in Derby. The deal is also expected to bring an additional 450 manufacturing jobs and more than £100 million of investment to the UK, with aircraft wings being designed in Filton and assembled in Broughton.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP called the agreement “a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector”, adding:
“It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade.”*****
Air India has reportedly signed agreements for just under 500 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, in what would be the largest purchase of commercial passenger aircraft in history.
Reuters cites industry sources in a report stating that the airline has agreed to purchase 250 Airbus planes, split between 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s, and 220 Boeing aircraft including 190 of its B737 Max narrowbody jets, 20 B787 widebodies and ten B777Xs.
Air India was purchased by Tata Group in early 2022, and late last year Tata and Singapore Airlines announced plans to merge Air India with Vistara (the latter being a joint venture between the two groups).
Reuter reports that the order could be formally announced this week, noting that in a memo to employees on January 27 the airline said it was “finalising a historic order for new aircraft”.
Since Tata Group’s takeover of the airline, Air India has been gradually increasing its fleet, with recent plans to lease B777 and A320 neo aircraft – but this latest order would be a massive step up for the carrier, which currently operates around 100 aircraft.
Last month Air India announced plans to move four existing UK routes from Heathrow to Gatwick airport at the end of March, allowing it to add additional frequencies to its flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Heathrow this summer.
Flight from Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kochi to Gatwick will all operate thrice-weekly, served by Air India’s B787-8 aircraft.