Tata Group-owned Air India is considering buying more than 200 new planes with 70 percent of them being narrow-bodied aircraft, aviation industry sources have said. While Air India has zeroed in on Airbus’s A350 wide-bodied aircraft for the procurement, the talks with Airbus and Boeing for narrow-bodied aircraft are still on, they said.
A wide-bodied plane like Airbus A350 has a bigger fuel tank that allows it to travel long distances such as the India-US routes. Air India has not bought a single aircraft since 2006 when it placed orders for purchasing 111 aircraft 68 from the US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 43 from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
The Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8 last year. On the sidelines of the 78th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association, aviation industry sources said Air India is considering buying 200 new planes. The share of narrow-bodied aircraft to that of wide-bodied planes will be 70:30.
They said that the decision on which narrow-bodied plane to buy to go for Airbus A320 family aircraft or Boeing’s 737Max aircraft is yet to be taken. According to Air India’s website, the airline has a total of 49 wide-bodied aircraft – 18 Boeing B777, 4 Boeing B747, and 27 Boeing B787 – in its fleet. The carrier has 79 narrow-bodied planes in its fleet too.