PARIS, FRANCE — Indian carriers fuel resurgence in aviation with unprecedented orders from Boeing and Airbus.

World-leading jet producers, Boeing and Airbus, have secured record-breaking deals spurred by escalating demand from Indian regional airlines, indicating a potential revival of the commercial aviation sector, still recuperating from the extensive COVID-induced downturn.

At the Paris Air Show held in Le Bourget, France, Boeing revealed on Tuesday that it has sealed an order for up to 220 commercial aircraft for the rapidly expanding Air India, with provisions for an additional 70 planes. Concurrently, the Indian carrier has affirmed an earlier agreement for 250 jets from Airbus, Boeing’s primary European competitor.

In an unparalleled move, IndiGo, an Indian budget airline, formalized an order for 500 Airbus A320 passenger jets a day prior, marking the largest deal ever recorded in commercial aviation history.

Campbell Wilson, Air India's CEO, conveyed that this substantial order will equip Air India with the "most advanced and fuel-efficient aircraft" within the next five years, strengthening India’s global aviation standing. Initially disclosed by Air India in February, these deals were ratified this week.

Wilson expressed pride in collaborating with partners like Airbus in an endeavour to reconstruct a global airline reflecting India's growing confidence on the world stage.

Praising Air India's growth plan as one of the most ambitious in the airline business, the chief commercial officer of Airbus lauded the expansion. Boeing CEO Stan Deal asserted that the deal reflected Air India's faith in their products and services within the rapidly growing aviation market.

According to Mike Boyd, a commercial aerospace analyst at Boyd Group International, Airbus currently dominates the market with the most appealing jets. However, the aircraft manufacturer is grappling with a production backlog, impeding their capacity to meet Air India's full requirement.

Boyd added, noting the implications of the situation, "Seeing that Airbus couldn’t meet that demand, they called up their friends in Seattle. Boeing is clearly in the descendency, even with this deal.”

India's government has plans to inaugurate 100 new airports by 2024, a move that could potentially double the country's air fleet from 600 to 1,200 planes, says India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. These airports form part of the broader blueprint to upgrade the country's transportation infrastructure, aiming to make air travel affordable and accessible between a fresh network of regional airports.

Air India's deal with Boeing includes 190 737 MAXs, 20 787 Dreamliners, and 10 777X jets, with an option to buy an additional 50 737 MAXs and 20 787 Dreamliners. Their agreement with Airbus incorporates 210 A320neo and A321neo narrow-body jets and 40 A350 widebodies.

Valued at a combined $70 billion at list prices, these deals, disclosed by Air India’s Wilson in February, typically experience discounts of approximately 25 percent, according to Boyd. The specifics of the order remain subject to change due to technological and regulatory advancements.

The first jets from Airbus's deal with Air India will be the wide-body A350s and are slated for delivery by the year's end, revealed Airbus spokesperson Stefan Schaffrath to The Washington Post. Airbus’s contract with IndiGo anticipates a delivery timeframe commencing in the early 2030s, whereas Boeing chose not to divulge its delivery window.

Schaffrath further shared that Airbus manufactures 65 jets per month and is booked with orders until 2029. By 2026, the aircraft producer anticipates production will escalate to 75 jets per month.