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.
In a deal three years in the making, the state-run airline Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) yesterday signed a firm order for 43 Airbus A320-family jets, marking the domestic carrier’s first fleet expansion in 15 years. Under the estimated $2.5 billion contract, deliveries will start in late October or early November and continue at a rate of one per month until March 2010.
Fast-growing Indian carrier SpiceJet is increasing fleet capacity by more than 2,000 seats with the planned $700 million conversion of options held on 10 Boeing 737-800s, of which five will be taken as 215-passenger -900ERs. The aircraft, which will be delivered over two years beginning October next year, will bring SpiceJet’s fleet to at least 15 aircraft. In addition, the low-cost operator has taken options on a further 10.
India’s air transport boom could continue at a phenomenal growth rate of 20 to 25 percent for the next three or four years, according to Boeing’s top salesman for the country. Dr. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president sales with Boeing Commercial Airplane, has also predicted that India’s established incumbent carriers, such as Air India and Jet Airways, will provide the main impetus for the continued growth, rather than the new challengers.
Aviation International News traveled from Delhi to Mumbai for the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) conference on Kingfisher Airlines, because at the time it offered the best schedule and most user-friendly Web site for buying tickets in U.S. dollars using a credit card. We paid $310 (or about INR 12,500) for the round-trip ticket.
Remember the days not too long ago, when any aspiring young computer whiz with a domain name and a smile could convince a venture capitalist to invest six or seven figures in his or her product-less Internet concept?
Canadian training equipment and services provider CAE, which is seeking ways to apply its simulation and modeling expertise in new areas, will announce orders worth almost $35 million from customers in India, South America and Europe.
As demand for commercial air travel increases in India, business aviation entrepreneurs are clamoring for position in a classic chicken-and-egg scenario. Those who will be successful must make an early entry into the market, but they are severely limited in their ability to operate because the infrastructure to support general aviation is still being developed.
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