According to persons familiar with the situation, Air India Ltd. is considering acquiring as many as 300 narrowbody planes, which would be one of the largest purchases in commercial aviation history, as the once state-run airline prepares to modernise its fleet under new ownership.
The airline may acquire Airbus SE's A320neo family jets, Boeing Co.'s 737 Max models, or a combination of both, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. At sticker pricing, a deal for 300 Boeing 737 Max-10 jets may be worth $40.5 billion, though discounts are customary in such huge orders.
Winning a narrowbody order in India would be an achievement for Boeing, as rival Airbus controls the skies in the country, which was formerly the world's fastest-growing aviation market. IndiGo, a subsidiary of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., is the world's largest client for the European manufacturer's best-selling narrowbodies, having ordered over 700, while Vistara, Go Airlines India Ltd., and AirAsia India Ltd. also operate planes from the same family.
It would take years, if not a decade, to manufacture and deliver 300 planes. Airbus now produces roughly 50 narrowbody planes per month, with plans to raise production to 65 by the middle of 2023 and 75 by 2025.