Tata captures iPhone volumes for Air India with Wistron takeover | Airlines

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By Angelo Mathais, India correspondent.

Some airlines could face lower hi-tech volumes out of China after a move by India’s Tata Group to go vertical: its manufacturing arm looks set to seal “captive” volumes for its new subsidiary, Air India, in advance of its aircraft deliveries.

The January 2022 takeover of Air India by Tata, in response to a government divestment programme, proved a “watershed moment” for the Indian aviation industry, sparking a flurry of large-scale aircraft orders. 

The expected capacity influx included some 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing by Air India and 500 from Airbus by its peer, IndiGo.

As competition heats up, Air India owner Tata has taken a manufacturing-led strategy for cargo volumes, as it expects belly cargo capacity to quadruple at full-scale operations.

Tata Electronics (TEPL) –  the group’s manufacturing arm – has acquired Taiwan-based Wistron’s contract Apple iPhone manufacturing operations in India, a $125m deal that industry observers believe has the potential to contribute “captive” freight volumes for Air India.

Wistron’s presence in India includes four assembly lines in the southern state of Karnataka, with plans for another unit at the same location. And with the acquisition – touted as a major boost for New Delhi’s “Make-in-India” push, Tata became the first “home-grown” iPhone maker, alongside Taiwan’s Foxconn and Pegatron.

Notably, the Indian government recently announced some curbs, in the form of licensing requirements for the import of certain electronic goods, in order to encourage investment in local manufacturing.

“The Wistron buy will spur the next cycle of investment in the Indian electronics manufacturing ecosystem, and signals the maturing of the country’s contract manufacturing companies,” said India’s IT minister,…

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