DALLAS – Air India (AI), India’s national carrier, is in advanced talks with Airbus to purchase A350 jets. The carrier was acquired by Tata Group in January this year, promising passengers a better experience and service under the tagline “Wings of Change.”
Since then, AI has embarked on a journey of changes, the first of which was a complete revamp of the booking and frequent flyer portal.
The airline has started working on “entry into service” for state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which are expected to join the fleet early next year. AI is currently seeking consent from pilots who wish to transition to the wide-body to start training in the A350s as the transition from A320 to A350 involves cockpit commonalities as confirmed by Airbus.
Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways
A Possible Early Delivery
It is understood that early delivery of A350s is possible as the aircraft built for Russian carrier Aeroflot (SU) wouldn’t be delivered owing to the current sanctions.
Qatar Airways (QR), which is currently at a crossroads with Airbus on the degrading paint on its 350s, also has orders in place for more 350s which are nearly built and could be made ready in the coming months. Airbus is considering alternate customers for these birds and Air India is right on spot to grab the opportunity.
A team of top executives from Tata Sons is currently in Hamburg to finalize the interior and seating layout details.
Air India currently operates a fleet of close to 150 aircraft, of which 30 have been grounded due to the non-availability of components and spares. The airline is in desperate need to modernise its fleet and also add new routes to the map. It currently operates Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and Boeing 777s between North America, Europe, and Australia.
Tata Sons and Air India chairman N Chandrasekaran earlier said that the need of the hour is to augment the fleet with modern aircraft and it would be addressed with the utmost urgency.
The A350 is expected to cater to routes in North America and Australia owing to its long-range capabilities.
Featured Image: Air India VT-ANK Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways
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