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DH Interview | Leasing from GIFT City has yielded promising results: Sky One’s Mirchandani

The company’s Group Chairman, Jaideep Mirchandani, took a few questions from DH’s Abhilash, on India’s aviation industry
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 21:51 IST
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 21:51 IST

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Having set up shop at Gift City, Sharjah-based aviation company, Sky One has made a calculated business move to tap into India’s bustling skies, where airlines are striving to meet burgeoning demand with major aircraft orders, while also struggling to cater to their immediate needs. The company’s Group Chairman, Jaideep Mirchandani, took a few questions from DH’s Abhilash, on India’s aviation industry

How will the opening of aviation leasing and financing services in GIFT City benefit the Indian aviation sector?

The opening of aviation leasing and financing services in GIFT City presents a significant opportunity to enhance the accessibility of capital and financing options for the Indian aviation sector. The benefits of a GIFT City-based leasing entity have already yielded promising results, as evidenced by the notable surge in activity during the first quarter of 2024. During this period, 27 new aircraft leasing units registered at GIFT City, indicating growing interest and investment in the sector. This surge is likely attributed to the attractive tax benefits and the ongoing expansion of the aviation industry.

GIFT City’s commitment to expanding the untapped potential of the aviation sector is further underscored by recent developments, including the substantial order book placed by Indian airline operators. This order book has facilitated air travel for approximately 160 million Indians in the fiscal year 2022–23, highlighting the positive impact of GIFT City’s initiatives on the accessibility and affordability of air travel in India. The establishment of aviation leasing and financing services in GIFT City is poised to bolster the growth and development of the Indian aviation industry, providing airlines with enhanced financing options and driving further expansion and modernisation efforts.

What are your projections for passenger numbers and aircraft expansion for Indian carriers in FY2025?

The domestic air passenger traffic in India during the 2023-24 financial year is estimated to stand at 154 million, according to credit rating agency ICRA. Furthermore, the projections indicate a continued expansion, with an expected 7-12 per cent increase to 27-29 million passengers in FY2025. We anticipate continued growth in passenger numbers for Indian carriers, driven by factors such as increasing disposable incomes, urbanisation, and government initiatives to boost air connectivity. There should also be a steady expansion of airline fleets to meet growing demand, with airlines investing in new aircraft acquisitions and leasing arrangements to support their operations.

What regulatory reforms are necessary to enhance the vibrancy of the Indian aviation industry?

To enhance the vibrancy of the Indian aviation industry, regulatory reforms are needed across various areas, including airspace management, taxation, infrastructure development, and safety regulations. Streamlining airspace management and reducing congestion can improve efficiency and reduce operating costs for airlines.

Tax reforms, such as rationalising fuel taxes and reducing import duties on aircraft parts, can make the operating environment more conducive for aviation businesses. Additionally, investing in modernising airport infrastructure and enhancing safety standards will be crucial to supporting the growth of the aviation sector. Regulatory reforms should aim to create a conducive business environment, foster innovation, and promote competitiveness in the Indian aviation industry.

How do geopolitical factors and international trade agreements impact the growth trajectory of the Indian aviation sector, particularly in terms of route expansions?

Bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries govern air traffic rights, including the number of flights, destinations, and frequencies allowed between nations.

Geopolitical tensions, diplomatic relations, and regulatory restrictions can influence route planning decisions and market access for Indian airlines. Changes in trade policies, tariffs, and trade agreements can also affect air cargo operations and passenger traffic demand.

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Published 19 May 2024, 21:51 IST

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