By Ashoke RajNew Delhi [India], May 30 (ANI): Tata-owned Air India is expected to receive its first Airbus 350 wide-body aircraft in the second half of 2023 -- most likely from October.
The Russian airline company Aeroflot's orders for A350 aircraft by Airbus will now be delivered to Air India.
Russia's ongoing "special military operation" in Ukraine has led to sanctions against Russia by the US. Subsequently, European aircraft manufacturers stopped supplying planes to Russia.
"Air India is aggressively looking for expansion plans and the A-350 aircraft is part of the plan. We are in touch with the manufacturer (Airbus) to bring the aircraft at the earliest," an Air India official told ANI.
On asked if those planes to be delivered to Air India belonged to Russian Aeroflot, whose deliveries were stopped following the US sanctions, the official, who asked not to be named, said, "Till now there are no more details about... but it is confirmed that we are going to give Aeroflot aircraft which was ready for delivery to them."In February, Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson said in the first media interaction that Air India passengers will get to experience the A-350 aircraft on international routes and six aircraft will arrive by this year.
Air India has not officially announced the deployment of aircraft and routes, but first, it will deploy for the domestic sector for some time as part of the 'Conversion Training Programme'.
An official told ANI that soon after the announcement by Wilson about the delivery of the A-350 aircraft, "AI operations department asked the wide body pilots to start and get ready for the conversion training A-350 aircraft."Aircraft manufacturer Airbus declined to comment on ANI's queries. "We do not comment on stories related to the delivery of aircraft to industry peers," it said.
Air India, which will buy 250 aircraft from Airbus, has also selected Boeing for the purchase of up to 290 planes as part of its growth strategy.US President Joe Biden hailed a "historic agreement" for Air India to purchase Boeing aeroplanes. France President Emmanuel Macron had earlier hailed the contract between Airbus and Tata Sons and said it marks a new stage in India and France's strategic partnership. (ANI)