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Boeing, Airbus raise forecast for India's aviation demand

IANS  |  Hyderabad 

Boeing and Airbus, two of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers, Thursday raised their forecast for the growth of India's civil aviation for the next 20 years, despite adverse near-term trends.

While Boeing said India need 1,600 new aircraft worth $205 billion, its rival Airbus has put the numbers at 1,290 aircraft worth $190 billion by 2032.

Last year's forecast by Boeing was 1,450 airplanes at $175 billion while Airbus in 2012 had made a projection of 1,043 new aircraft valued at $145 billion.

Addressing separate news conferences at India Aviation 2014, the biggest civil aviation event of India, top officials of the two global firms said they were bullish about India.

Dinesh Keskar, vice president, sales, Boeing commercial airplanes forecast that India's commercial aviation fleet will grow more than five times in size.

"India's demographics are highly favorable to the growth of air transportation. The share of India's large population entering the workforce is growing. India could have the world's fourth-largest economy if current trends continue helping drive demand for air travel," he said.

"While passenger growth is recovering and we project a healthy aviation industry in the long term, adverse near-term trends of overcapacity, a weak rupee and high fuel prices will affect airline profitability in the near term," Keskar added.

Boeing projects that passenger airlines in India will rely primarily on single-aisle airplanes such as the 737 and the 737 MAX. Single-aisle airplanes will represent 83 percent of the new airplanes in the country.

For long-haul traffic, Boeing forecasts twin-aisle airplanes such as the 747-8 Intercontinental, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner will account for 15 percent of new airplane deliveries.

The American firm expects its recently launched 787-10 and 777X will support the demand for fuel-efficient twin-aisle airplanes in India.

Boeing projected a $4.8 trillion market globally for 35,280 airplanes over the next 20 years, driven by an increase in deliveries from India, China and other emerging markets.

Joost Van Der Heijden, Airbus head marketing for India, said Indian annual passenger traffic growth rates of 8.6 percent are well above the regional Asia Pacific average growth rate of 6.1 percent and the world average of 4.7 percent.

Of the requirement for 1,290 new aircraft, some 73 percent will be for growth and 27 percent for replacement.

The new passenger aircraft include 913 single aisles like the A320 and A320 family, 322 twin aisles like the A350 XWB and A330, and 56 very large aircraft such as the A380.

Airbus forecasts that 36 percent of India's fleet by 2032 will be wide-bodies, more than doubling today's level.

In passenger traffic term, domestic India is the fastest growing flow increasing at almost 10 percent per year. In 2032, India domestic traffic will be the world's third largest domestic market.

"Today one in 20 Indians travel by air and in 2032 this will increase five-fold to a quarter of the population taking at least one flight. Along with China, more people will experience the benefits of aviation for the first time in India than anywhere else," he said.

Airbus also believes that by 2032, India will have 13 cities with more than a million passengers every month against two cities today.

The company hopes this would drive the need for larger aircraft like the A380, the world's largest aircraft. It welcomed the recent decision by the Indian authorities to allow operation of A380 and hopes to bag orders from the Indian carriers.

Airbus is displaying A380, an in-service aircraft belonging to Emirates, at India Aviation.

As many 170 aircraft of the European firm are currently in-service in India. With over 60 percent of new aircraft orders from India, it currently has an order book of 350 airplanes.

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First Published: Thu, March 13 2014. 21:20 IST