Airbus and Boeing released their outlooks for the Indian airliner market over the next two decades at the India Aviation show in Hyderabad this week, with both OEMs estimating different figures. Boeing forecast demand in India for 1,600 new airplanes worth $205 billion, with the country’s fleet expected to grow more than five times in size over the next 20 years, while Airbus estimated a slightly more conservative 1,290 aircraft worth $190 billion.
“India’s demographics are highly favorable to the growth of air transportation,” said Dinesh Keskar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ senior vice president of sales, Asia Pacific and India. “The share of India’s large population entering the workforce is growing and India could have the world’s fourth-largest economy if current trends continue helping drive demand for air travel.”
Boeing projects commercial airlines in India will rely primarily on single-aisle airplanes such as the Next-Generation 737 and the 737 Max. Single-aisle airplanes will represent 83 percent of new airplanes in the country, according to its outlook.
Affirming this projected trend is budget-carrier SpiceJet’s order announced on March 12 at the India Aviation show for 42 737 Max 8s. Meanwhile, according to sources close to the company, India’s Jet Airways is believed to hold an order for 50 more of the new Max narrowbodies and between 8 and 10 777 300ERs, although the operator itself has steadfastly declined to confirm this information.
While Boeing forecasts twin-aisle airplanes, such as the 747-8, 777 and 787, will account for 15 percent of new airplane deliveries, Airbus forecasts that 36 percent of India’s fleet will be widebodies, more than doubling today’s number. “This is a result of increased capacity of international as well domestic routes with larger aircraft like the A330 and A350,” said Airbus.
“By 2032, the number of Indian cities with more than a million passengers every month will have grown to 13 from today’s two. This exponential growth will continue to drive the need for larger aircraft like the A380 to operate in the country,” said Kiran Rao, Airbus executive vice president for strategy and marketing. Keskar brushed aside the suggestion that the proposed lighter Airbus 330 “regional” model could be a better fit on domestic routes once traffic increases. “The 787-8 is the right variant. Air India is already using it on some routes. The fares are not much higher or are the same,” he told AIN.