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[EN] Air India pode comprar 50 A350 e 100 A321NEO

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France's Airbus close to clinching Air India deal for 50 A350 aircraft
The first aircraft is likely to be inducted by first half of 2023

Arindam Majumder  |  New Delhi 
Last Updated at June 15, 2022 23:16 IST

Tata Sons-owned Air India is close to signing an agreement with French aerospace major Airbus for an order of up to 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Additionally, the airline is also in talks to order more than 100 A321 neo aircraft- a popular version of Airbus’ single aisle version.

The airline on Wednesday asked its pilots to prepare for training on the aircraft. “Air India is in the process of augmenting its existing fleet with the A350 type of aircraft with the Entry into Service. You are requested to give your acceptance of your willingness to be taken up for Conversion training on the A350 aircraft,” a memo to pilots reviewed by Business Standard said.

Transition training from A320 to A350 will require only around six months as Airbus has ensured cockpit commonality in the two aircraft.

Airbus and Air India didn’t reply to queries sent on the topic.

Sources said that the airline was looking to induct the A350 aircraft as early as the first half of 2023.

Such an early delivery of the aircraft is possible because the airline is eyeing aircraft already built for Russian airline AeroFlot, which Airbus couldn’t deliver due to the sanctions placed by the company on Russia.

Aeroflot had a total of 22 A350-900 aircraft on order. Out of those, only one has been delivered to Aerflot while six aircraft are being taken by Turkish Airlines, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2023.

The Russia-Ukraine war has led to Western nations taking swift action against Russia, imposing sanctions and airspace bans. The actions restricted plane makers like Airbus and Boeing from selling and delivering aircraft to their Russian customers.

Multiple delays by Boeing for commercial launch of its competing product like the 777X due to regulatory issues also contributed to the order swaying in Airbus’ favour. Plans of Vistara, the group’s joint venture with Singapore, have been hit due to the delay in delivery of 787 aircraft.

A team of top executives of Tata Sons, which includes the conglomerate’s Chief Financial Officer Saurabh Agrawal and Air India’s Chief Commercial officer Nipun Aggarwal, is in Hamburg to finalise details on the seating layout and interiors.

Airbus had earlier showcased a more advanced version of the aircraft A350-1000 to Tata Sons executives including group patriarch Ratan Tata.

The airline is simultaneously working to restore its grounded aircraft. Around 30 of Air India’s 113 aircraft have been grounded for varying periods due to lack of engine overhaul or non-availability of components and spares. This includes aircraft from both the Airbus and Boeing fleet such as Airbus A320, Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.

While Air India has a fleet of 141 aircraft, a mix of narrow and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, the airline has agreed to hand over only 118 of them in fly-worthy condition to the Tatas.

Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran who is also the chairman of Air India had earlier said that the group will need to order new aircraft inorder to augment the fleet of the airline.

“We will address it with utmost urgency. We’ll upgrade our fleet, we’ll bring modernity in our fleet, we’ll bring a new fleet,” he had said in a video address to employees.

Air India’s last aircraft order was in 2006 when it had placed orders for purchasing 111 aircraft -- 68 from US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 43 from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

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