British airlines, Indian diaspora, international businesses, tourists, and other countries will all be beneficiaries of Air India’s record-breaking $80billion order for 470 new aircraft.
Heathrow will be able to fly more frequently to India’s commercial and political centres, Delhi and Mumbai, after Air India acquired more landing and take-off slots at London’s airport.
Gatwick will be the new base for Air India’s leisure-oriented services to India as it plans to expand its flights to the UK. Former state airline, now owned by the Tata family and Tata Steel has confirmed flights to and from Birmingham. Manchester could be a future expansion.
Air India was founded by the Tata family in the Second World War, but it was nationalized after Pakistani partition.
It was clear that its ambitions were enormous when it placed orders last month with Airbus, Boeing, and for 70 wide-body long-haul aircraft and 400 short-haul planes. The latter indicated its readiness to take on IndiGo.
Air India will be launching the first of these aircraft this year. It also plans to have a fleet of 400 aircraft in operation by 2026. Air India’s current fleet size would mean it is larger than Emirates, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines holds a 25% stake in Air India as a result legacy investments. It currently handles less than 50 million passengers per year, which is less than a third of Ryanair. However, Air India is expected to cater to over 100 million passengers by 2026.
Campbell Wilson, Air India’s chief operating officer, stated that “We have the demographics, the geography and the demand.”
Campbell Wilson, chief executive: “This transformation is the most exciting in aviation today.”
Wilson, a 51-year-old New Zealander, admitted that India’s track record of producing profitable airlines or not going out of business is not strong. He also said that Indian aviation has not “represented itself as people might wish it had.” He said that Air India could be different now because of “patient private capital” from a long-term investor like Tata, which would “stabilise. professionalise. and project a more confident sector.”
He said, “This is the most exciting change in aviation today.” It is a national mission. This is a national mission.
From 26 flights per week, the number of Heathrow-Delhi and Mumbai flights will increase to 31. The airline will fly 12 services per week from Gatwick to Goa, Kochi, further south along the Arabian Sea Coast, and to the cities Amritsar and Ahmedabad.