India Inc wants to fly at jet speed.
An increasing number of Indian corporate houses are trading in their old aircraft for super luxury ones. High-end planes, such as Hawker, Falcon and Gulfstream, not only cut travel time but also have a larger fuel capacity that minimise stopovers.
Eight of the 20 private aircraft bought in the past two months for private use or chartered business journeys are super luxury jets, according to civil aviation ministry records.
The cost of these eight aircraft was four to five times more than the price of the other aircraft put together.
“It is a natural progression after the slowdown,” said Arun Lohiya, chief operating officer, Bafna Air, a Vile Parle-based private charter company. “Low-end planes are good for flying within the country today but companies want non-stop travel across the globe.”
While a mid-range aircraft cost Rs 20 crore, the price of an extravagant one could go up to Rs 100 crore.
Private jets across all price ranges can carry 10 to 12 passengers but the top-end ones come with more comforts and frills such as fully reclining seats, a Jacuzzi and a personalised bar.
Though the upgrade is an expensive one, business houses are treating it as an investment.
“Aircraft maker Bombardier found that a person flying 400 hours a year in a high-end plane could save 28 working days,” said Captain Madan Vijay, managing director, AAA aviation, a city-based charter company.