As highly taxed fuel, mounting debt and aggressive ticket pricing stifle the fledgling airline industry in India, the government seems ready to renege on its promise to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country’s carriers. Current rules do not permit foreign airlines to invest in domestic carriers, although non-aviation-related investors can hold up to a 49-percent stake.
In a reversal from an earlier policy, which gave state-owned Air India preference over bilateral aviation agreements for international routes, the Indian government will now open access to private airlines.
Even though the year ended with doom and gloom, the Indian air transport sector couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2012 with its largest budget carrier, IndiGo, signing a memorandum of understanding for the biggest commercial aviation deal in history valued at approximately $15.6 billion. The deal, which was subsequently firmed up, called for 180 of Airbus’ A320 family narrowbodies. This topped an earlier order by the carrier for 100 aircraft and seemed a clear indication that the Indian market is back on track after suffering severe losses during 2008- 2009.
If a major international airshow can be accepted as an accurate snapshot of the prevailing condition of the world’s aerospace and defense industries, then the picture presented by Farnborough 2002 (held July 22 to 28) clearly showed both as having seen better days. That said, the sell-out event’s 1,200 exhibitors also gave the strong impression that they expect a rosier future, albeit after one or two more years of market stagnation.
India appears to have ruled out any early prospect of increased international competition among its airlines. The move will disappoint recent start-up operators looking for a relaxation of current policy that bars Indian carriers with less than five years’ experience from international routes.
The meteoric development of India’s airline industry continues unabated as Air India extends its nonstop network to all corners of the globe with Boeing’s longest-range airliner. On February 8, Air India placed its fourth 777-200LR on a new direct route between Delhi and New York JFK Airport, and expected the imminent arrival of airplane No. 5 as we approached the start of this year’s Singapore show.
For travellers with deep pockets or generous expenses allowances–or simply an interest in how the other half lives–Indian carrier Jet Airways is showing off here the first-class interior of a Boeing 777-300ER, with which it plies the Mumbai (Bombay)-London route. The cabin is outfitted with eight exclusive “suites,” each occupying more than 25 square feet of useable floor space that can be separated from prying eyes by sliding doors.
By next year, the giant Airbus A380 will be transporting passengers around the globe on nonstop flights of as much as 8,000 nm.
India’s Kingfisher Airlines will place an order for Airbus A380s at the Paris Air Show today, according to officials with the carrier contacted in Mumbai yesterday. According to various Indian press reports, Kingfisher will place an order for five of the superjumbos, along with a mix of 15 other airplanes, reportedly A330s and A350s.
New aircraft orders placed this year from Air India and Indian Airlines should ensure that the government-owned carriers can compete against promising new domestic and international operators on the subcontinent. But strong growth in passenger traffic as well as flights has put increased pressure on congested facilities.