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Air India may buy as many as 30 large jets worth $10 billion, Airbus’ enginemaker says

Chris Davie, senior vice president in Asia Pacific for Rolls-Royce, said Tata Group-owned Air India is looking for 'big order', which will allow the airline to get international growth.

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New Delhi: Tata Group-owned Air India Ltd. is looking at buying as many as 30 widebody aircraft, the enginemaker for Airbus SE’s A350 jets said, an order that will allow the former state-run carrier to aggressively pursue international growth.

“I think they are looking at something up to 30 aircraft, could be as big as that, which is a big order. A really big order,” Chris Davie, a senior vice president in Asia Pacific for Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc said in an interview on the sidelines of the airshow in Hyderabad.

An order for 30 A350-100 jets could be valued at about $9.5 billion at 2018 sticker prices, although large discounts are common in big plane purchases. Based on prices provided by aircraft appraiser Avitas Inc., the market value of 30 such jets in 2021 was $4.5 billion.

Davie declined to comment on a timeline for any potential order, but said his team has accompanied Airbus officials when the planemaker flew an A350 to multiple Indian cities showcasing the jet. The European planemaker has doubled down on efforts to sell its A350 jets to local carriers in recent days, with a specific eye on Air India. The airline, which under its new owners — India’s largest conglomerate — needs to revamp its fleet of Boeing 777 jets to take on its profitable local rivals such as Indigo and Spicejet Ltd.

Airbus and Boeing Co. are in talks with the new owners of Air India about an order for a raft of new jets, Bloomberg News reported last month. Those discussions involved both A350-900s and 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing dominates the widebody fleet in India while Airbus doesn’t have a single active customer.

Singapore-based Davie’s visit to India was aimed at meeting key players in the Indian market, and to hold discussions with Air India and Tata Sons Pvt., the $103 billion salt-to-software conglomerate that bought the chronically unprofitable airline from the government earlier this year. –Bloomberg


Also read: Nationalisation did not kill Air India, politics did. Tata’s challenge lies beyond fixing it


 

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