It is a very rare business deal between two corporations that results in the world’s most powerful man, the President of the United States, calling on the head of another country to acknowledge that it would be a game-changer for the world’s largest and most powerful country by creating over a million jobs.
But the Tata-owned Air India was not scripting any normal aircraft purchase deal. It was one which tells the world that the turned-around airlines from India now wishes to be in the league of the world’s biggest and best airlines.
“I am proud to announce today the purchase of over 200 American-made aircraft through a historic agreement between Air India and Boeing. This purchase will support over one million American jobs across 44 states and many will not require a four-year college degree,” President Joe Biden said.
Hours prior, in a virtual programme, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the deal between Air India and Airbus, saying France was committed to work with India, after Air India signed an agreement to procure 250 jets from Airbus, including 40 wide-body planes. Air India would be purchasing 220 planes from Boeing.
“This contract is a milestone in the friendly relations between India and France,” said Mr Macron.
Air India would be spending anywhere up to $80 billion for the two deals combined for getting a new fleet of a total of 470 aircraft. Air India will be budgeting to spend $400 million to revamp its livery and will refurbish interiors of its entire existing fleet of wide body craft and introduce the “latest generation seats” and world-class in-flight entertainment systems.
The Tata Group had purchased Air India from the Government of India after a long history of trouble for the beleaguered airline and promised to turn it around into a big success story. Its success ahead will stand an endorsement for strategic disinvestments programmes by the government.
Equally or more important for India as a nation, besides one of the best news in both domestic civil aviation sectors, as well as for Brand India, is the news that the Tata Group, will also, as part of its historical commitment to help develop India, attempt to bring commercial aircraft manufacturing to the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed both the deals and the strategic partnerships of India with both the US and France and declared a vision to develop India into the third biggest market in the aviation sector soon as part of the increasing focus on enhancing air connectivity in the country, through the plan to create 50 new airports as espoused in the recent Budget and the continued modernisation of existing airports.
The civil aviation sector is an integral part of India’s development and strengthening it is crucial to our national infrastructure policy, said Mr Modi, who also highlighted that, in the last eight years, the number of airports in India rose from 74 to 147.
Mr Modi also emphasised how the UDAN scheme was connecting remote parts through air connectivity and giving a vital boost to all-round economic and social development.
In the coming decade, India, with the world’s largest population and one of the fastest growing large economies and a rapidly aspirational and assertive middle class with increasing purchasing power, aligned with the vision of the country and the prowess of groups like the Tatas, will increasing ensure that the Maharaja can truly set a flight path to rule the global skies.