Airbus, CFM and Rolls-Royce win big in record Air India aircraft order
Air India’s February 14, record order for 470 jets has injected the proverbial shot-in-the-arm for aircraft manufacturers with Airbus, Boeing and engine makers CFM, Rolls-Royce and General Electric walking away with carefully parceled out spoils.
European airframer Airbus walked away with the bulk of the order, accounting for 250 of the 470 aircraft booked by Air India. Airbus’ A320-neo family booked 210 units in the narrowbody segment with its US rival Boeing raking in 190. Airbus also took the larger portion of the widebody requirement, receiving orders for 34 A350-1000’s and six A350-900’s to account for 40 of the 70 units ordered.
Boeing booked a follow-on order for its B787 family with the Indian flag carrier adding twenty 787-9’s to complement the existing fleet of twenty-seven 787-8’s.
Air India chief executive Campbell Wilson described the order as marking “the start of a new chapter for both Airbus and Air India;” while Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Christian Scherer, said it was “a historic moment for Airbus and for Air India.”
“India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honoured that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity,” he added.
The associated engine requirement saw CFM rake in orders for 800 units, followed by Rolls-Royce at 80 and General Electric at 60.
In a statement, Rolls-Royce described the commitment as “the biggest ever order for the Trent XWB-97, which exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000. Air India has also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900.”
According to the propulsion systems maker, the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. Coupled with options, Rolls-Royce is looking at a total tally of 100 powerplants.
“Air India is the first Indian airline to order the Trent XWB and the size of the commitment, including options, will make them the biggest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world. With a dynamic and growing aviation industry, India is a strategically important market for us and we look forward to working with Air India as they connect their passengers across global communities and cultures,” commented Rolls-Royce chief executiveTufan Erginbilgic.
Analysts say the size of the Air India order reflects the increasing demand for air travel in India, which now has the third biggest airline market in the world and is ranked as the fifth largest economy globally. The rise of aviation has been fuelled by continued business growth, favourable government policies, sustained infrastructure development, rising disposable incomes and the travel aspirations of its young, affluent middle class. Industry forecasts show that air passenger traffic in India is expected to grow at more than 6pc per year and the industry will require more than 400 medium and large aircraft to support demand.