Region VII: Middle East/Asia (MID)

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India, a Promising Asian Market for Business Aviation

April 25, 2012

It’s an emerging market where the number of business aircraft orders is expected to rise exponentially during the next two decades. Its aviation infrastructure is just beginning to sprout, and the government is only now starting to address the needs of general aviation.

Think this is about China? It’s not. This is India, one of the most promising new markets for business aviation in the world.

“Business aviation in India is experiencing rapid growth,” says Bombardier, which predicts delivery of 1,330 business jet deliveries to India over the next 20 years. Bombardier cites India’s “large land mass, large population” and strong economic performance” as factors driving the growth of that country’s civil aviation market.

Dassault Falcon is equally bullish on India. “We remain encouraged by the potential for long-term growth in business aviation in India,” said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon. “Business jets are now seen in the region as a powerful tool to enable quick and convenient access to customers within the country and worldwide.”

Yet, in spite of the optimistic forecasts for business aviation in India, the industry is not without challenges there.

“What we found was a paradoxical situation of a sector which exhibits huge growth potential and yet has virtually no dedicated policy or regulatory framework nor infrastructure to support it,” wrote Kapil Kaul, CEO for South Asia at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA), referring to a report released by his organization in February. “Aside from the operational challenges which this presents, there are significant implications for safety and security. However, with a clear vision of the potential for GA in India, and a commitment by industry and government, the sector could emerge as an exciting driver of economic development and one which establishes a leadership position in the Asia Pacific region.”

The CAPA report called for a “shake-up” in India’s aviation sector in order to prepare for growth concurrent with an expected economic expansion of nine-percent a year during the next 10 years. Included in the “shake-up,” CAPA called for “recognition of the role of general aviation at a policy level; application of high and consistent regulatory and training standards; relaxation of the current negative fiscal environment in certain areas, and market entry by professional, experienced and well-capitalized operators.”

It appears the Indian government is listening. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has proposed measures that would give his country “the potential of establishing itself as a hub for third-party MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) of civilian aircraft.” Among those measures, Mukherjee’s finance bill for 2012-2013 calls for a vast reduction in duties on tires and testing equipment necessary to increased MRO activity.

But in order to realize the potential for growth in India’s general aviation fleet – which CAPA predicts could increase from the current 680 aircraft to 2,000 over the next decade – Kaul said it is vital that India conduct “a detailed and methodical review of the GA sector as it stands today and [create] a vision for where the sector could be in 2020.”