Tata is making major transfers to add more aircraft to Air India’s small fleet. Recently, Boeing Co and Airbus SE executives met with Tata team executives in recent weeks to negotiate aircraft orders for Air India, according to sources.
Tata last month acquired ownership of the state-owned Air India after nearly 70 years in a $ 2.4 billion equity-debt agreement. While the airline has lucrative landing sites, the team is facing a top-notch mission to upgrade an older Air India submarine and change its spending plans and operating levels.
Air India owns more than 140 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and company officials estimate it will cost Tata more than $ 1 billion to repair the old aircraft.
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Airbus declined to comment on the discussions saying it “may or may not be with potential customers”. Boeing said it did not comment on the communications it could have with its customers. Tata did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Tata has begun preliminary discussions with pilots and lenders for aircraft, including the Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, referring to people familiar with the matter.
With its maharajah mascot, the aircraft was once famous for its well-decorated aircraft and a stellar performance led by the founder JRD Tata. Air India was established in 1932 and national in 1953.
Since the mid-2000s, however, Air India’s reputation has declined as financial problems have risen. It flew physical planes throughout with commercial class seats in poor repair and grounded some of its new 787s to use for spare parts.
Tata, the autos-to-iron conglomerate, operates two other airlines: Vistara, is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, and AirAsia India, which operates in partnership with the AirAsia Group.
Includes inputs from Reuters