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Boeing, GE, CFM International meeting Air India officials today: Sources

The meeting in Mumbai is being held to finalise a deal for the supply of aircraft to Air India. However, one official said an announcement is not expected as Air India is also holding negotiations with Airbus.

January 27, 2023 / 01:35 PM IST
An Air India aircraft.

An Air India aircraft.

Top officials from aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and engine suppliers General Electric Aviation and CFM International will meet officials from Tata Sons and Air India in Mumbai on January 27, sources said.

While the first two are American companies, CFM International is a 50:50 Franco-American joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines.

"There is a closed-door meeting today in Mumbai between Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Campbell Wilson, Stanley Deal, François Planaud, Tom Levin, Salil Gupte, Ahmed Elsherbini, and other top officials from GE and CFM International," an airline official said.

Natarajan Chandrasekaran is the Chairman of Tata Sons. Campbell Wilson is the CEO and MD of Air India, and Stanley Deal is the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

François Planaud is the Executive Vice-President, Support and Services, at Safran Aircraft Engines, and Tom Levin is the Vice-President, After Market Strategic Solutions, at GE Aerospace. Salil Gupte is the President of Boeing India and Ahmed Elsherbini is its Managing Director and Chief Engineer.

Air India, Boeing India, CFM International, GE, and Safran are yet to respond to emails sent by Moneycontrol.

The meeting is being held to finalise a deal for the supply of aircraft to Air India.

Another official said that while there is a meeting in Mumbai today, no announcement is expected from Air India. He said negotiations are still ongoing with Airbus and an announcement is only expected once the deals are finalised.

Earlier today, Reuters reported that Air India is set to place an order for 190 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body planes as well as some 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777X.

The second half of the mega order for around 500 aircraft, according to the report, was for around 235 Airbus single-aisle jets and about 40 Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft.

Last month, Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of aircraft leasing company, Air Lease Corp, had said that the Air India deal comprises a mix of Airbus 321neo and Boeing 737 Max models, as well as the Boeing 787, 777X and some 777 freighters, alongside the Airbus A350 on the wide-body front.

Marking the first anniversary of the takeover, Air India chief Campbell Wilson said that the progress was "nothing short of stunning".

He said that the airline has not shied away from ambitious moves like merging Air India Express with Air Asia, or Vistara with Air India, or kicking off the establishment of a new InfoTech Centre, or an Aviation Academy.

"And that's not to mention our much talked-about short- and-medium term fleet expansion," the CEO and MD had said.

The airline is targeting 30 percent of the domestic market share over the next five years as it competes with market leader IndiGo.  It has put back in service nearly 20 aircraft that had been grounded for years for want of parts and money. The airline has also said it will spend over $400 million to refurbish its entire legacy wide-body fleet of 27 Boeing 787-8s and thirteen 777 aircraft.

It also wants to increase by "multiples" its current share of international travel, the airline's new chief executive Campbell Wilson previously said.

Yaruqhullah Khan