European aviation giant Airbus has reposed new faith in India’s blooming airline space, on average delivering one aircraft every week to carriers in the market, through the next 10 years.
Today, over 220 Airbus aircraft are operational in India, flown by Air India (66 A320 Family), IndiGo (108 A320), Jet Airways (four A330-200 + four A330-300), GoAir (19 A320), Air Asia India (six A320), Vistara (10 A320), and SpiceJet (three A320 Family). In totality, there are 400 aircraft in service with Indian carriers, of which Airbus holds a 56% in-service India fleet share, and a worldwide share of 60% in the single-aisle A320neo aircraft spread alone. Airbus’ share of in-service aircraft and aircraft on order in India is 70%.
Talking to Deccan Herald, President of Airbus Division in India Srinivasan Dwarakanath, said, “While we hold a leading market share in India, we have a backlog of over 520 aircraft, of which 519 are the new A320neo (New Engine Option) planes. In order to successfully deliver the aircraft to our clients in the country, we will be delivering on average, one aircraft a week, until the next 10 years.” The said aircraft in backlog involve orders from IndiGo (430 A320neo), Jet Airways (five A330-200), GoAir (72 A320neo), and Vistara (four A320 + seven A320neo), among others.
India is amongst the fastest growing aviation markets in the world with an annual traffic growth well above the world average of 4.6%, and Airbus forecasts a need for over 1,600 passenger aircraft in the next 20 years. While growth prospects are immense, the country is primarily a single-aisle, narrow-body airliner market, thanks to the success and growth of low-fare carriers, which carry 60% of the domestic traffic. “It all depends on the business strategy of an airline, whether it wants to induct large, long-haul aircraft for operations. With regard to India, a large percentage (60%) of Indians who fly abroad use international carriers, while the domestic aircraft market is booming,” Dwarakanth said.
But he did not deny that the Indian market has the potential to include more and more long-haul routes, operated by large aircraft. Airbus has already received enquiries from Indian carriers about its state-of-the-art twin-aisle aircraft, mainly the A330neo and the A380.
Following the approval of A380 operations in India by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the A380 has about 30 flights operated per week by foreign carriers into India from Singapore, Dubai, Frankfurt, and from Abu Dhabi. The double-decker airliner is considered a revenue generator.
“Moving forward, we can expect interest even for the A330neo from India. A lot of people flying to and from India have begun flying on the A380, which has emerged a popular plane. We are discussing with all airlines, and hope that an ‘Indian A380’ will fly one day,” Dwarakanath hinted.