Sky’s the limit: Rishi Sunak celebrates one of the biggest export deals with India
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared a landmark moment for bilateral trade ties with India as a deal between the Tata Group owned Air India and international manufacturing giants Airbus and Rolls-Royce was inked at the ongoing Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru this week.
As part of its expansion strategy, the Indian air carrier has agreed to buy 250 Airbus aircraft, including A320neo, A321neo, A350-1000 and A350-900, with the large A350 aircraft exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines assembled and tested in Derby.
The UK government said wings will be designed in Filton, and assembled in Broughton – which is expected to bring an additional 450 manufacturing jobs and more than £100 million of investment to Wales.
Sunak said: “This landmark deal between Air India, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector.
“It will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can grow the economy and support our agenda to level up – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country. The UK is already a top investment destination, and by building trade ties with growing economic powers like India we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation.”
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UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch added: “This is a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one which will help to secure thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth. It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade.
“We’re currently negotiating a trade deal with India which could boost trade by up to £28 billion a year by 2035. Export wins like this are another big step to our nations forming a closer trading relationship.”
For Air India, the order aims to modernise and expand the airline’s fleet as it works towards a larger and premium full-service carrier and the deliveries of the new aircraft will begin later this year.
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Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India, noted: “A core element of this transformation is the significant expansion of our network, both domestically and internationally, coupled with the elevation of our on-ground and onboard product to world-class standards. This order marks the start of a new chapter for both Airbus and Air India.”