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Why Air India’s Fleet’s Flagship Will Be The Airbus A350

The A350-1000 is the first widebody aircraft from Airbus that India has purchased.

With over a 70% market share, Airbus has long held the top position in the narrowbody market in India. With the entry of newcomer Akasa and its decision to use Boeing’s 737 MAX family for its fleet, the pendulum has started to swing more recently.

However, Airbus has never been able to compete with Boeing in the widebody market, which has historically been dominated by the latter. Only Vistara and Air India fly any widebodies in India, where they are not especially common. However, that’s about to change with the sizable order received today from Air India, giving Airbus its first opportunity to compete in the lucrative Indian long-haul market. Air India’s premier aircraft will be the A350.

It’s noteworthy that even while Airbus labels the A350 as the “flagship” of Air India’s upcoming fleet, the airline has also staked a claim to something slightly larger. Although the Boeing 777X will be the largest aircraft in the fleet, with only ten having been ordered, will it unseat the A350 as the star of the Tata stable?

In contrast, according to Scherer, the limited order amount speaks volumes about the significance of the various aircraft types. The 2% 777X portion becomes less significant in a fleet that will include more than 500 aircraft in a few years. The Airbus aircraft will predominate the airline’s long-haul operations, despite it being amazing to see the large Boeing twin in AI colors. Additionally, the A350 has some substantial advantages to provide, as Scherer explained to Simple Flying,

An order of 34 1000s is a reliable intercontinental anchor. The A350-1000 is a plane that is 35 tonnes lighter than the equivalent Triple Seven every time it takes off. That should be the obvious flagship of choice, so it’s not shocking. Because of how significant and relevant fuel usage becomes for long-range aircraft, economic efficiency and the associated reductions in carbon emissions are most relevant to and evident on these aircraft.

Even with the addition of 20 Dreamliners, the Air India A350 will be the first new widebody and will continue to be the most common for some time.

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