PM Modi also described the deal as a sign of the successes of India's civil aviation industry

Air India signed an agreement with Airbus on Tuesday to purchase 250 aircraft to meet the airline's expansion plans, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the deal as a testament to the deepening relationship between India and France.

It was also a sign of the successes and ambitions of India's civil aviation industry, he added.

Prime Minister Modi was speaking during an online event also attended by French President Emmanuel Macron to announce the signing of the agreement between Air India and Airbus.

Besides PM Modi and President Macron, the event was attended by India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Minister of Civil Aviation of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, Air India CMD Campbell Wilson, Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata, and Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran.

Under the agreement, Air India will get 250 Airbus planes - 210 single-aisle A320neos and 40 widebody A350s. The airline will receive 140 A320Neos and 70 A321Neo aircraft.

Important milestone for Indo-French Strategic Partnership

Prime Minister Modi described the agreement between Air India and Airbus as an important milestone for the Indo-French Strategic Partnership.

"A few months ago, in October 2022, I attended the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Defence Transport Aircraft Project in Vadodara. Tata and Airbus also have a partnership in this project being built with an investment of 2.5 billion euros. I am also happy to know that French company Safran is setting up the largest MRO facility in India to service aircraft engines," he stated.

The India-France partnership is playing a direct role in ensuring the stability and balance in the international order and the multilateral system.

Whether it is the issue of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, or global food security and health security, India and France together are making positive contributions.

India a Fast-Growing Aviation Market

Prime Minister Modi used the occasion to highlight that India will soon become the third largest market in the aviation sector in the world.

"As per several estimates, the number of aircrafts needed in India in the next 15 years will be more than 2000. Today's historic announcement will be helpful in meeting this growing demand," he remarked.

According to Prime Minister Modi, under India's 'Make in India - Make for the World' vision, many new opportunities are opening up in aerospace manufacturing. A provision of 100% FDI via automatic route has been made for green field and brown field airports. Similarly, 100% FDI has also been allowed in ground handling services, maintenance, epair and overhaul (MRO). India can become a hub of MRO for the entire region, he pointed out.

"Today all global aviation companies are present in India. I invite them to take full advantage of these opportunities," Prime Minister Modi said.

The civil aviation sector was an integral part of India's development, he stated. Strengthening civil aviation is an important aspect of our National Infrastructure Strategy, he added.

According to the PM Modi, in the last eight years, the number of airports in India have jumped from 74 to 147, almost double the increase. Through the regional connectivity scheme (UDAN), remote parts of the country are also getting linked via air connectivity, which is promoting the economic and social development of the people, he explained.

French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said the agreement was testament to India's growing role as an international aviation hub.

"This historic #AirIndia-#Airbus agreement is testament to India's growing role as an international aviation hub. It's also a new milestone in the France-India strategic partnership, showing the commitment of French aerospace companies to India & #MakeInIndia," he tweeted.