The $400 million fleet-wide renovation initiative is a component of the nation’s flag-carrier’s ambitious turnaround.
New first class suites and business class seats being developed by Air India will be available starting in the middle of 2024.The enormous project’s codename is “Vihaan,” which is also a symbol for the “beginning of a new age” and is derived from the Sanskrit word for dawn. Campbell Wilson, the CEO of Air India, asserts that he is “confident that, when revealed, the new interiors will delight customers and show Air India in a new light.”
As the carrier targets the nation’s expanding middle-class travel market, the $400 million fleet-wide upgrade effort will include premium economy as well as an update to inflight entertainment “across all classes.” Wilsons sees a “untapped opportunity” in adding more frequent flights to European locations like Frankfurt, Paris, and the UK as well as direct flights to North America. Due to a “lengthy but necessary process and the time required to manufacture seats,” the first aircraft outfitted with Air India’s “next generation” product would start flying in the middle of 2024, the airline claims. As part of the redesign, Star Alliance member Air India has hired London-based JPA Design, whose remarkable portfolio includes work for Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, The Orient Express, and Belmond Grand Hibernian.
470 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft coming
A massive US$70 billion order for 470 brand-new Airbus and Boeing airplanes that will be delivered over the course of ten years, with options for an additional 370, will also include the upgraded seats and suites. As one of the biggest airplane orders in history. Airbus will deliver 210 A320neo-family aircraft and 40 older models of its long-range A350 series, while Boeing will provide 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, ten 777-9 aircraft that have not yet taken off, and 190 737 MAX aircraft. According to Wilson, “we see significant opportunity in long-haul international (flights),” and the order for 70 twin-aisle aircraft will “multiply the widebody long-haul fleet and capacity of Air India.”
All of this is a part of Air India’s radical reinvention by its new owners, the Tata Group, who paradoxically launched the airline in 1932 only to see it become a national carrier in 1953. The airline, which Tata Group and Singapore Airlines jointly own, will merge with Vistara in the first half of 2024 after being purchased by Tata for US$2.4 billion in October 2021. The A350s will be used to “fly all ultra-long distance across the globe,” according to Tata Sons Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, while Chief Commercial and Transformation Officer Nipun Aggarwal believes the fleet will connect India “non-stop” to all major cities worldwide.
Chandrasekaran claims that “Air India is on a significant transformation journey.” This purchase is a crucial step in achieving Air India’s goal of providing travelers from around the world with a world-class experience while maintaining Indian roots.