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India will need 1,750 new aircraft over 20 years – Airbus

Airbus has forecast that air passenger traffic in India will grow exponentially over the next 20 years, as fast as the world average, and the country will need 1,750 aircraft to meet this demand.

The projections were made by top officials of the European plane maker at a media conference on the sidelines of the Wings India 2018, the biennial conference of civil aviation in Hyderabad on Friday. Joost Van Der Heijden, vice-president, Marketing, Asia and North America, said that India would need will include 1320 single aisle and 430 wide bodied aircraft valued at $255 billion. “By 2019-20, India will become the third-largest aviation market in the world,” he said. Airbus now holds the lion’s share of the Indian market, with 60 per cent of in-service fleet and 70 per cent of the order backlog, he added.

According to projections of Airbus, domestic air passenger traffic in India is expected to register an average annual growth rate of 8.1 per cent over the next 20 years against the global average of 4.4 per cent. “Domestic Indian traffic is expected to grow five and a half times over the next 20 years [2017-36], reaching the same level as US domestic traffic today, making it one of the fastest growing markets,” Airbus’ India Market Forecast said. While much of the air traffic was expected to be driven by the fast-expanding economy, rising wealth and urbanisation, ambitious government-backed regional connectivity programmes are also set to enhance demand for air travel.

“By 2036, Indians will each make four times as many flight as today,” Der Heijden said. The company also projected that on an average one Airbus aircraft will be delivered to India every week for the next ten years. To meet this growth, India will require 24,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers. Srinivasan Dwarkanath, President, Airbus Commercial Aircraft, India, said that the construction work of Airbus’ Flight Training Centre in Delhi will start next month where 800 pilots will be trained. He added that every commercial aircraft of Airbus was partly made in India as the company’s sourcing from the country had increased 16 times over the last ten years. Companies have sourced parts and services worth $3 billion over the last three years and it stood at $550 million last year. The sourcing has created 6,000 jobs directly or indirectly across India. The sourcing will increase further as the company was looking for the opportunities to work with more partners specially in designing, innovation and emerging technologies. The engineering and IT services companies partnering with the Airbus include Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Infosys, Wipro among others. HAL had provided 6,600 front passenger doors to Airbus, he added. “Make in India is at the heart of Airbus’ India strategy. Airbus has the largest footprint in India of any international aircraft manufacturer, nation wide across all aircraft programmes”, said Dwarkanath.

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