New Delhi: Tata Group-owned Air India is to purchase 250 aircraft, including 40 wide-body planes, from Airbus, in the world’s largest aviation deal in history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing his congratulations on the “landmark agreement”, termed it a reflection of the ever-deepening relations between India and France.
In a virtual event with French President Emmanuel Macron, Ratan Tata, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran, and Airbus Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, the Prime Minister on Tuesday said the agreement is also a reflection of the successes and ambitions of India’s civil aviation sector.
“This landmark agreement demonstrates the ever deepening relations between India and France and is also a reflection of the successes and ambitions of India’s civil aviation sector,” he said.
He said that strengthening of the civil aviation sector is an important part of India’s national infrastructure strategy, adding that the number of airports in the country in the past eight years has nearly doubled from 74 to 147.
“India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme Udaan has helped provide air connectivity to remote areas of the country, which is giving a boost to the economic and social development of the people,” the PM said.
PM Modi said that in the near future India is set to become the third largest market in the world in the aviation sector.
“According to estimates, India will need over 2,000 aircraft in the next 15 years. Today’s historic announcement will help to cater to this growing demand.”
He said that under the Make in India-Make for the World vision, several new openings have opened up in the aerospace sector. “Provision has been made for 100 percent FDI in greenfield and brownfield airports through automatic routes. Similarly, for ground handling services, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), permission has been given for 100 percent FDI.”
He said India can become an MRO hub for the entire region.
“Today all aviation firms are present in India and I invite them to take full advantage of these opportunities,” he added.
The PM said that today’s agreement between Air India and Airbus is an important development for the India-France strategic partnership.
He said that in October 2022 he was in Vadodara to participate in the foundation laying ceremony of the defence aircraft project – C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force. “Being made at a cost of 2.5 billion euro, this project is a partnership between the Tatas and Airbus.”
He said he was happy to note that French company Safran is opening the biggest MRO facility for service of airplane engines in India.
“Today the India-France partnership is playing a crucial role in ensuring the international order and the stability and balance of the multilateral system. Whether it be on the issue of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific, or the global food security, or health security, India and France are together contributing in an important way,” he added.
“I am confident that our bilateral relationship will touch greater heights.”
He said that under India’s G20 presidency the two sides will get more opportunities to work together.