Home' Asian Aviation : AAV September 2011 Contents Business Aviation
poor roads, poor connectivity and spreading of
business into the interiors of India and overseas, the
need for business jets is growing”.
According to civil aviation industry analysts, three
factors have contributed to growing demand for business
and private jets.
Firstly, for businessmen and industrialists from
smaller urban centres, it is about boosting productivity,
as scheduled air ser vices in smaller towns have not kept
pace with their needs. Se condly, in recent years there
has be en exponential growth in the number of Indian
companies expanding overseas, in developing regions
such as Africa and Eastern Europ e, where air transp ort
ser vices leave much to be desired.
Additionally, many state- government ag encies
in India , along with executives of multinational
corporations (MNC), lawyers and doctors are
increasingly falling back on private jets to save time and
A fore cast by the Business Aviation Association of
India (BAAI) says that there will be 1,793 business
aircraft in the country by 2020. However, fewer than 150
airports are op en to business aviation and facilities are
sub -standard compared with those of other countries,
with limited parking space and costly, poorly organised
ground handling ser vices.
“ To make things work we need ground handling,
airports and heliports, maintenance facilities, spares
and FBOs [fixed-base operations],” says BAAI Vice-
President Karan Singh. “ We also need consulting ,
manufacturing and management strateg y. While the
Indian industry has understood the value of business
aviation as a business tool, the Government still perceives
business aircraft as p ersonal indulgence.”
A CAPA study on the business aviation sector in
India explores the “paradoxical situation of a sector
which exhibits ... growth potential and yet has virtually
no dedicated policy or reg ulatory framework and
infrastructure to support it”. The study stresses that
this raises not only operational challenges, but also
significant safety and security issues.
Indeed, poor infrastructure - especially in terms of
landing and parking facilities– is being cited as a major
drag on growth in business aviation. Many airports in
India , including New Delhi and Mumbai, bar business
aircraft flights during peak hours.
In a significant development, however, Reliance
Infrastructure – which op erates five private airports in
the Western Indian state of Maharastra – has offered
night-parking facilities for business jets unable to find
space in Mumbai and Pune.
Aircraft manufacturers also feel that high taxation and
reg ulatory red tape in India make it difficult for potential
business jet buyers. Manufacturers also complain of the
country’s underdeveloped infrastructure, as well as the
lack of easy access to airports and landing permits.
However, according to Trevor Esling , vice-president
of international sales for Cessna Aircraft: ” The
encouraging thing is that, despite all of the difficulties of
buying and then operating an aircraft in India , people are
buying them”. Esling’s optimism is grounded in the fact
that business jets are still generally more cost-effective
and time-saving than commercial air travel, saving on
expenses such as hotel bills as travellers are not compelled
to stay at their destinations overnight.
Business jet charter companies are also doing well.
Sanjay G odhwani, chief executive officer and managing
director of New Delhi-based air charter company
Religare Voyages, says the industry is growing at an
a stounding 70 percent per annum.
Meanwhile, Taj Air, which pione ered charter aviation
in India, has teamed up with Bangalore-based air charter
ser vice provider Deccan Charters and Business Jets India
(BJETS) to launch Powerfly, which will offer ser vices
on demand, le veraging synergies from the three brands.
” We believe the air charter ser vice industry in
India has immense potential. While Taj Air, D eccan
Charters and BJETS all have their individual
streng ths, their collaboration will bring tog ether
a new force that will catalyse the sector,” says R K
Krishna Kumar, vice-chairman of Indian Hotels
Company, which owns Taj Air.
Business jet manufactures too are g ung-ho ab out the
Indian business aviation market.
According to Nilesh Pattanayak, managing director
for South Asia of Bombardier : “ There is a lot of interest
for our recently launched Global 7000 and 8000 jets
in India . These new jets were designed based on our
customers’ feedback to ensure that they were tailored to
meet the evolving Indian ne eds.”
Brazilian jet maker Embraer says it is aiming for
around US$1 billion in sales in India by 2018. Embraer,
which has nine super mid-size Leg acy 600s and three
entry-level Phenom 100s in operation in the country,
says: “India is one of the few places in the world where we
have been able to sell our full range of products.”
US manufacturer Gulfstream is targeting 40 percent
of India’s long-range business jets market.
“Thanks to Indian businessmen and their expanding
interests, the country has developed into a successful
market for Gulfstream with the number [of aircraft] in
use growing from five in 2000 to 21 in early 2011,” the
Thierry de Poncins, International sales director for
Dassault Falcon Aircraft, is also optimistic : “ There
are already more than 100 non-scheduled aviation
operators in India and their number is growing at
a strong pace. We are forecasting sales of about 100
Falcon jets in India within the next decade.”
“In anticipation of this growth, we are continuing
to increase our efforts locally to ensure op erators
benefit from a premium support network,” de Poncins
says. “ We recently approved Air Works in Mumbai as
a Falcon authorised line ser vice provider for Falcon
900-series aircraft in Mumbai.”
Dassault is developing its support network in India in anticipation of growing demand for its Falcon jets.
“ What happened in US and Europe about ten years back
is happening today in India.” – Julian D’Souza, general
manager of operations, Jupiter Aviation Services
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