Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday attended the launch of the new Air India-Airbus partnership via video conference. As part of the mega deal, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, announced the purchase of 250 aircraft from Airbus.
Hailing the deal, PM Modi said the tie-up is an important milestone for the India-France strategic partnership. “This important deal reflects the deepening ties between India and France, as well as the successes and aspirations of India’s civil aviation sector," the Prime Minister said.
Chandrasekaran, who was present at the virtual meeting, said, “We have built a very good relationship with Airbus. Today, I am happy to announce that we have signed a letter of intent to acquire 250 aircraft from Airbus."
Tata Group-owned Air India will get 250 Airbus planes — 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s, worth more than $50 billion at list prices, according to a Moneycontrol report. The deal is part of Air India’s plans to expand its fleet and operations.
At the meeting, Chandrasekaran said the wide-body planes will be used for ultra-long-haul flights. Flights that have a duration of a little over 16 hours are called ultra-long-haul flights.
The virtual meet was also attended by Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, Airbus SE CEO Guillaume Faury, Air India CMD Campbell Wilson, Ratan Tata, and Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Stressing the importance of air connectivity, PM Modi said, “Through our Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN), remote parts of the country are being connected through air connectivity, which is boosting the economic and social development of people."
“Many new opportunities are opening up in aerospace manufacturing under India’s ‘Make in India - Make for the World’ vision," the PM added. Modi further said that India and France together are making a positive contribution — whether with regard to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, or global food security and health security.
Macron also hailed the Air India-Airbus deal saying that the “achievement shows that Airbus and all its French partners are fully dedicated to develop new areas of cooperation with India". “We’ve achieved so much with India. We’ve historic opportunity to go much further, given the potential of Indian people," Macron added.
“The end of the pandemic should lead to more exchanges between our two countries. Students, scientists, artists, businessmen, women, tourists all are most welcome to France and I encourage Indians to come and be part of this French Indian friendship," he said.
(With PTI inputs)
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