Air India will use Aeroflot cabins on some of its incoming Airbus A350 aircraft, with six aircraft of the type scheduled to join the airline by the end of the year.
According to Campbell Wilson, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air India group, who held a media briefing on February 27, 2023, Air India will receive the widebody jets with the Russian airline’s cabins in order to circumvent time and supply chain constraints.
The Russian airline could not take the already-built aircraft due to the sanctions imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
Air India is scheduled to take six Airbus A350 aircraft previously destined for Aeroflot by the end of 2023, Wilson explained.
Airbus’ Orders & Deliveries file from December 2022 shows that two A350s were not delivered to the Russian airline due to sanctions, while planespotters.net data indicates that there are five frames already built but not taken up (NTU) by the carrier.
The list includes Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 242, 253, 498, 508, and 601. MSNs 558, 554, and 585 are also marked as NTU but are marked as potentially heading to Air India, according to planespotters.net. Two of the airframes show a cabin configuration of 28 business class, 24 premium economy, and 264 economy seats.
Air India ordered 250 Airbus aircraft, including 210 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, and 40 A350s on February 14, 2023. On the same day, the Indian airline also agreed to another huge order with Boeing, finalizing an agreement to take 190 Boeing 737 MAX, 20 Boeing 787-9, and 10 Boeing 777X-9 jets over the coming years.
In total, Air India ordered 470 aircraft from the two largest aircraft manufacturers.
According to the Airbus announcement from February 14, 2023, the first deliveries from 250 aircraft order “are set to commence with the first A350-900 arriving by late-2023”.
Airbus confirmed that the ex-Aeroflot A350s are “now reallocated to Air India,” according to Stefan Schaffrath, a spokesperson for the manufacturer, in a statement to AeroTime. Schaffrath also affirmed that the first aircraft of the type should reach the Indian airline in late-2023.
Meanwhile, an Air India spokesperson confirmed in a statement to AeroTime that the airline will receive six Airbus A350-900s by the end of 2023. They will “retain the existing cabin layout as any customization will consume significant time,” indicated the spokesperson. The remaining A350s from the order on February 14, 2023, will arrive “over the next few years,” they added.
UPDATE February 27, 2023, 12:00 PM (UTC +3): The article was updated with a statement from Airbus.
UPDATE February 28, 2023, 15:45 PM (UTC +3): The article was updated with a statement from Air India.