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Landmark Air India deals: US President Biden, French President Macron, and UK PM Sunak hail partnership with India, thank PM Modi

“Together with Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to deepening our partnership even further as we continue to confront shared global challenges, creating a more secure and prosperous future for all of our citizens,” Biden said.

On Tuesday, February 14, US President Joe Biden, French President Emanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the ‘historic’ Air India deals with Boeing, Airbus and Rolls Royce. As per the multi-billion dollar deal, Air India will be buying 250 passenger aircraft from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. The airline has signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to US President Biden over a phone call as the two leaders welcomed the landmark agreement that will ‘help create opportunities’ in both countries. 

‘Deal with Air India will support one million jobs in the US‘, says Biden

A press release issued by the Prime Minister’s office states that the two leaders welcomed the announcement of a landmark agreement between Air India and Boeing as a shining example of mutually beneficial cooperation that will help create new employment opportunities in both countries. PM Modi also invited Boeing and other US companies to “make use of the opportunities arising due to the expanding civil aviation sector in India.”

President Biden in a statement said the United States can and will lead the world in manufacturing. President Biden highlighted how the deal will support over one million American jobs across 44 states and assist Air India in meeting the country’s rising demand for air transportation adding that this deal reflects the strength of the economic partnership between the two countries.

“Together with Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to deepening our partnership even further as we continue to confront shared global challenges, creating a more secure and prosperous future for all of our citizens,” Biden said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Twitter to welcome the Air India-Boeing agreement and tweeted, “Glad to speak with @POTUS @JoeBiden. Excellent discussion to review the ongoing and new initiatives to further deepen India-US Comprehensive and Global Partnership. We welcome the landmark @airindiain, @Boeing agreement which will help create new opportunities in both countries.”

Macron thanks Modi

On Tuesday, PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron virtually attended the launch of the Air India-Airbus deal. President Macron thanked PM Modi for having confidence in France. The two leaders were joined by Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, Shri N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of the Board, Tata Sons, Campbell Wilson, CEO of Air India, and Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus.

The Air India-Airbus agreement, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, “marks a new stage in India and France’s strategic alliance.” In a tweet, Macron said, “The agreement between Airbus and Tata Sons this morning marks a new stage in the strategic partnership between France and India. Thank you Narendra Modi for your confidence in France and our industry.”

Meanwhile, PM Modi also thanked President Macron his role in taking the Indo-French relationship forward adding that the Air India-AirBus deal that reflects the robust Indo-French ties will “further strengthen the Indian sector and will also create opportunities for both the countries.”

‘Building trade ties with growing economic powers like India’

In a tweet about Air India’s multi-billion contract with Air Bus and Rolls Royce, Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday welcomed what he called a huge win for the UK’s aerospace sector.

“This landmark deal between Air India, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector,” Sunak said.

The British Prime Minister also stated that fostering commercial ties with emerging economic powers like India will support UK firms in maintaining their leading positions in innovation and growth around the world.

“The United Kingdom is already a top investment destination, and by building trade ties with growing economic powers like India we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation.”

In an official statement, Boeing said that Air India has selected 190 737 Max, 20 787 Dreamliners, and 10 777 X aircraft as part of the purchase agreement.  The deal between Boeing and Air India includes an option for 20 787-9S and 50 more 737 MAX aircraft.

Air India and Air Bus deal

On February 14, Air India, India’s flagship carrier and part of the Tata Sons conglomerate, announced that it had signed letters of intent with Airbus and Boeing to acquire both widebody and single-aisle aircraft.

According to an official release, the order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777-9s widebody aircraft, as well as 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft. The A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines and the B777/787s by engines from GE Aerospace. Engines from CFM International will power all single-aisle aircraft. 

The first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, with the bulk to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. In the interim, Air India has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion.

The acquisition of new aircraft, which will come with an entirely new cabin interior, complements Air India’s previously announced plan to refit its existing widebody B787 and B777 aircraft with new seats and inflight entertainment systems. The first of these refitted aircraft will enter service in mid-2024, as per an official release.

Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus said that “Airbus has been a longstanding partner of Air India. AI, Air India’s comprehensive growth and transformation strategy. Today marks a historic moment for Air India, Airbus, and India. The Tata Group’s decision to revive Air India with the A350 and the A320neo makes us at Airbus very proud and grateful. The magnitude of the Air India deal indicates the Indian aviation industry’s appetite for growth.  It is the fastest-growing in the world.”

For more than 17 years, Air India has not ordered an aircraft till now. Additionally, it is the carrier’s first purchase made while under Tata Group ownership. The airline had placed a $10.8 billion purchase order in 2005 for 111 aircraft, 68 from Boeing and 43 from Airbus.

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