This would be the company's first aircraft purchase since 2006. It would also be the first Indian airline to order the A350, which is quickly gaining appeal among international carriers due to its fuel efficiency despite its size and range.
According to Christian Scherer, Airbus' chief commercial officer, the airline is "reorganizing itself" under the Tata Group and would consider replacing its fleet with new aircraft.
The airline is thought to be considering an order for the A350 Wide-Body planes from the European company. If it happens, it will be the now-privatized airline's first aircraft order since 2006. It would also make Air India the first Indian airline to order the A350, a fuel-efficient aircraft that is gaining appeal among global carriers.
Air India sent a message to its pilots earlier this week asking whether they were interested in training for the A350. Tata Group leaders have remained silent on the company's ambitions.
"Air India is reorganizing itself under the able oversight of the Tatas, and it's only natural that they consider an investment in a new fleet and new aeroplanes if only to regain more sovereignty and market share for an Indian carrier in the international market," Scherer said on the sidelines of a press conference with Australian carrier Qantas on joint initiatives on sustainable fuel.
Hundreds of airline and aerospace executives are in Doha for the International Air Transport Association's two-day annual general meeting (IATA).
Scherer said he couldn't comment on negotiations about jet purchases with Air India/Tatas. According to sources close to the situation, he and his team have been in negotiations with the Tatas for the past six months over Air India's new aircraft purchases. According to the people, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of the airline and the aviation-to-automobile business, has met with his staff at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France, and its important production location in Hamburg, Germany.
After a competitive bidding procedure in October of last year, the Tatas bought the loss-making, heavily indebted airline from the government.