Boeing (BOE, Washington National) is targeting Air India (AI, Delhi International) as a lead potential customer for a substantial part of around 140 B737 MAX originally earmarked for Chinese carriers but not delivered due to the ongoing grounding of the type in the country, Bloomberg has reported.

According to sources, the US manufacturer is hoping to resell at least 50 ex-China-bound B737 MAX, although it is not clear if all of them would go to Air India. Boeing plans to sell the aircraft on an "as is" basis, meaning that any potential customer would have to either reconfigure them or operate them in a cabin configuration planned by their original Chinese buyers.

Air India is currently evaluating options for a much-needed fleet renewal. Following the privatisation of the carrier, reports indicated it could be on the market for as many as 300 narrowbody aircraft. While it recently inked leases for twenty-five A320/1neo aircraft, it has yet to place the expected much larger order. Its current narrowbody fleet comprises twenty A319-100s, nine A320-200s, twenty-seven A320-200Ns, twenty A321-200s, and twenty-four B737-800s operated by Air India Express (IX, Delhi International).

Boeing revealed in September 2022 that it was looking for new customers for its unwanted China-bound B737 MAX. Despite some tentative steps in that direction, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has yet to unground the type in the country. The process takes place against the backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, and the recent certification of the AL!_OMC-o-made AC!C19.