Air India agrees multi-billion pound deal with Airbus to buy 250 aircraft triggering a £100m investment in Deeside and 450 new jobs. Tony McDonough reports
Planemaker Airbus will create 450 new jobs at its giant wing-making factory at Broughton near Chester after securing a mega deal with Air India.
This latest deal will see Tata-owned Air India buy 250 aircraft from Airbus. They will include 40 long-distance wide-body A350 jets, as well as 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft.
At the same time the carrier will purchase a further 220 planes from Airbus rival US-based Boeing. This will include 190 of the narrow-body 737 Max jets, 20 twin-aisle 787s and 10 777Xs, with the option to purchase a further 70 jets.
Neither manufacturer has revealed the value of their respective deals but both agreements will easily run into the tens of billions.
It is a shot in the arm for the Airbus plant at Broughton in Deeside which pre-pandemic employed around 6,000 people, many of whom live in Liverpool city region.
But the pandemic hit the aviation sector badly and Airbus was forced to make 2,000 job cuts at the factory. However, by May last year the company was bouncing back and announced up to 550 new jobs would be created at the plant.
This latest announcement will mean an extra £100m being invested at Broughton and 450 new jobs being created.
Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of international, said: “This is a historic moment for Airbus and for Air India.
“India is on the verge of an international air travel revolution and we are honoured that our partnership with the Tatas and our aircraft solutions will write that new chapter for the country’s air-connectivity.
“The A350’s unique capability will unlock the pent-up potential of India’s long-haul market. Its technology, long reach and second to none comfort will enable new routes and passenger experience with better economics and enhanced sustainability.”
This order aims to both modernise and expand Air India’s fleet. It is expected the first A350-900 aircraft will be delivered in late 2023.
Campbell Wilson, the airline’s chief executive, added:”Airbus has been a longstanding partner of Air India, and these new aircraft will play an important part in delivering Vihaan.AI, Air India’s comprehensive transformation and growth strategy.
“A core element of this transformation is the significant expansion of our network, both domestically and internationally, coupled with the elevation of our on-ground and onboard product to world-class standards.”