This contract is set to be one of the biggest commercial aircraft deals in history. Reuters reports that the deal will be announced next week, on January 27th, with the industry watching closely.
Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft are set to be included in the deal, with the A320neo family and 737 MAX featuring, respectively. In addition, there is the expectation that widebodies will also be added to the agreement. This consists of the Boeing 777X.
The Boeing 777X has endured a prolonged drought in orders. While in 2022, the aircraft manufacturer launched its 777-8 Freighter, its passenger variants, the 777-8 and 777-9, have lagged.
Currently, the 777-8 has accumulated orders from Emirates for 14, Etihad Airways for 8, and Qatar Airways for 10. At the same time, options exist in the contract. Thus far, the 777-8 has been underwhelming, similar to the A330-800 and its lacklustre performance.
However, Boeing is aided by the reality that the 777-8 won’t enter service for many years. This should allow it to have time to grow in the market.
Boeing’s larger 777-9, the first variant scheduled to enter service in 2025, has had a better fair of it. ANA has ordered 18, British Airways also with 18, Cathay Pacific with 21, Emirates has 101, Etihad Airways 17, and Lufthansa has ordered 20. Meanwhile, Qatar has 30, and Singapore concludes with 31.
Air India looks set to commit to 10 777X aircraft, with the variant not being specified. The commitment to so many aircraft is a vote of confidence from new ownership that has taken on a carrier a shadow of its once self. Through acquiring new aircraft, management hopes to change the airline’s fortunes and cast a new lease on life.
Air India has struggled with debt, government ownership and new carriers joining the market. However, the Tata Group are hopeful they can turn around the business and put Air India back in its rightful place as the number 1 choice for customers.