Biden and Modi praise Air India Boeing agreement, Indian-American leaders optimistic


US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 14, 2023, lauded the “landmark agreement” between Air India and Boeing and expressed optimism that the agreement will the deepen US-India Economic Partnership and result in generating new employment opportunities in both democracies.

Prime Minister Modi tweeted after his conversation with President Biden regarding Air India-Boeing plane purchase agreement. Photo Twitter @narendramodi

During a phone conversation, Biden and Modi discussed “the importance of the strategic technology partnership between India and the United States, highlighting the recent inaugural launch of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology [iCET] hosted in Washington two weeks ago,” while reaffirming the importance of joint initiatives in strategic platforms such as the Quad alliance, a White House statement said.

“I am proud to announce today the purchase of over 200 American-made aircraft through a historic agreement between Air India and Boeing. This purchase will support over one million American jobs across 44 states, and many will not require a four-year college degree,” the statement added.

Prime Minister’s Office in a statement said, Modi expressed satisfaction “on deepening India-US Comprehensive and Global Partnership,” and welcomed the initiative on iCET, during the call. Both leaders also evinced a clear interest to advance the bilateral partnership in crucial areas such as space, semi-conductors, and defense.

Per the agreement, Air India has ordered 220 jets including 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle jets, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and 10 Boeing 777-9s. It also includes options for 50 additional B737 MAX and 20 B787 jets. While all B777 and 787 jets will be powered by GE Aerospace engines, the 737s will be powered by CFM International engines.

Indian-American political leaders and industry experts excitedly welcome the agreement, which promises to advance the economic partnership between both democracies to the next level.

First Indian-American Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller told News India Times, “The economic partnership between India and the United States will not only benefit both nations, but it will also benefit the State of Maryland. A thriving US economy means a thriving Maryland economy where jobs and prosperity are created so we leave no one behind.”

About the agreement, Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on The Strategic Competition between the United States and The Chinese Communist Party, Indian-American Congressman from Illinois, Raja Krishnamoorthi told News India Times, “I’m very happy to learn of this new piece of the robust US-India economic partnership. Strengthening the ties that bind our nations, the world’s oldest democracy and its largest, will support American jobs while bringing greater security and prosperity to both our citizens and the wider world.”

Newly elected Indian-American Congressman from Michigan, Shri Thanedar told News India Times, “I welcome the purchase by Air India, 200 planes, a $34 billion deal. This purchase will make an economic impact of over $70 billion in the USA and create one million jobs. A stronger USA-India relationship will be in the best interest of the people of these two largest democracies.”

Noting that this is one of the largest purchases in commercial aviation history, President & CEO of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Mukesh Aghi told News India Times, “It will create over a million jobs in the US, bringing both countries much closer. It’s not about just an order, but it’s about taking the partnership to a much deeper level from technology, investment, and procurement perspective,” adding “It will have a positive impact economically since the deal is worth over $60 billion. So, it is a win-win for both countries. I commend N. Chandrasekaran’s leadership on Air India’s expansion.”

Air India also finalized a similar deal with France-based Airbus and ordered 250 planes including 210, A320 narrow-body and 40, A350 wide body jets.

Congratulating Air India and Airbus on the “landmark agreement” Modi in a virtual call with French President Emmanuel Macron, on February 14, said “The deal is a testament to the deepening relationship between India and France as well as the successes and ambitions of India’s civil aviation industry. Today, our civil aviation sector is an integral part of India’s development. Strengthening civil aviation is an important aspect of our National Infrastructure Strategy,” noting the number of airports in India have nearly doubled from 74 to 147 over the last eight years.

Commenting on Air India revamping its fleet and services, Chairman of Tata Sons and Air India, Chandrasekaran on February 14, said “Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation. This order is an important step in realizing Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world class proposition serving global travelers with an Indian heart.”

Since Air India is likely to take possession of some of these jets in late 2023, with the remainder in mid-2025, the carrier is leasing 11, B777 jets to immediately expand its fleet. Last year, the carrier announced it was leasing six Boeing B777-300 ER widebody aircrafts in December, in addition to leasing five Boeing B777-200 LR widebody aircrafts in September.

CEO & Managing Director, Air India, Campbell Wilson, in December while making the lease announcement said, “Growing our network is an essential part of Air India’s Vihaan.AI transformational journey and we remain committed to increasing connectivity and frequency of flights both domestically and internationally. These additional aircraft leases will support our near-term growth even as we finalize plans to refresh and significantly grow our long-term fleet.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here