SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — In an effort to dispose of some of the approximately 140 Boeing 737 MAX jets previously intended for Chinese carriers, the American airframer offers those planes to Air India. The Indian airline plans to triple its fleet over the next five years.

The formerly state-owned flag carrier is restructuring its fleet after being acquired by the Indian conglomerate Tata Group and is one of the potential customers for Boeing. Tata Group is in talks with both Boeing and Airbus for the future fleet of Air India.

Boeing cannot deliver aircraft ordered by Chinese customers due to tense trade relations between the two countries and the consequences of two fatal crashes of the American manufacturer's best-selling jet. China was the first country to ground the type in March 2019 and did not approve its return to service yet, although the FAA and other regulators around the world lifted the ban in late 2020.

After putting some of those planes on sale again, Boeing's boss Dave Calhoun told reporters last month that they can't wait forever. Although the number is not exact, experts familiar with the matter say around 50 planes may be resold.

The aircraft could be sold on an "as-is" basis, which means the new customers should repaint the planes themselves and reconfigure their cabins if required.

Air India plans to order as many as 300 narrowbody aircraft to upgrade its fleet following the takeover by Tata Group.

Also read: Air India to triple its fleet over the next five years