Experts believe that PM Narendra Modi’s recent trips to the US and France may have accelerated the transaction at a time when the international aviation industry is facing significant supply-side issues.
The national flag carrier once again stunned the industry after it finalised a record deal for 800 jet engines with CFM, the Franco-American joint venture between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE on Thursday. This kind of action seems to have become a characteristic of Air India under CEO Campbell Wilson.
In the announcement, which came about five months after the historic agreement for 470 Airbus and Boeing aircraft was signed, it was stated that the high-bypass turbofan LEAP engine developed by the JV will power Air India’s new fleet of 210 Airbus A320neo/A321neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft.
“We are delighted to celebrate with CFM a major deal that will play a key role in our future development,” a CFM statement quoted Air India CEO Wilson as saying.
“The introduction on a greater scale of the LEAP engine as well as our services agreement will help us to optimise our operations in terms of environmental footprint and operational cost while benefiting our customers,” he added.
An extended service contract for the LEAP engines is part of the terms of the agreement signed by the two parties.
Gaël Méheust, president & chief executive officer of CFM International, called the agreement “a major milestone in CFM history” and stated that it “strengthens our presence in India” and “commits us to continue supporting Air India’s development with the best CFM standards in terms of reliability, efficiency, and customer support.”
Since 2002, when the airline started flying Airbus A320ceo aircraft with CFM56-5B engines, Air India has been a CFM client.