Boeing (BA.N) is making a big bet on India’s aviation sector. The aerospace giant says it will invest $100 million in infrastructure and programs to train pilots, addressing the country’s need for 31,000 new pilots over the next 20 years. The move underscores the company’s recognition of India’s growing role in the global aviation market, boosted by an expanding middle class and surging air travel demand.
The investment includes funding for a maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in Mumbai, a training center in Hyderabad, and a parts logistics center to streamline supply chain processes and capture synergies between defense and civil aviation. It also includes $100 million in products and services that will benefit airlines throughout the region, including digital solutions for aircraft operations and flight crew training. Boeing will also expand the availability of its Aircraft Lifecycle Support service in India to help reduce operating costs and extend the lifespan of Indian-built aircraft.
India is a growing hub for passenger and freight flights, with an expanding economy and a growing middle class creating strong demand for international travel. But challenges such as inadequate airport capacity, a shortage of qualified engineers and technicians, and the need for pilots with advanced training can limit growth and raise airline costs.
These issues have made it challenging for Air India to compete with Emirates and Qatar Airways for traffic from Indians traveling overseas. The country’s state-owned airline, once known for its maharajah mascot and legendary customer service, has struggled to revive its fortunes. But it was sold to the Tata Group conglomerate last year and renamed Air India, hoping a private owner could turn around the troubled airline. The Boeing orders deal is seen as one of Air India’s first significant steps in a turnaround.
The new planes ordered by Air India are valued at $34 billion at list price and include 20 787 Dreamliners, ten 777Xs, and 190 737 MAX narrow body aircraft. The airline has the option to add 50 new planes. The order is Boeing’s third biggest ever in dollar value and second largest in quantity, the White House said. The administration said it would support over a million American jobs in 44 states.
The administration said that Boeing would build a high-tech facility for maintaining and repairing the military C-17 fleet at Air India’s Hyderabad base. The administration added that it would also create a parts logistics center to streamline supply chains and speed up the delivery of critical components.