India is the single-largest turboprop market outside Europe and would see a demand for about 640 aircraft in the 60-140-seater category over the next twenty years, estimates Canadian plane maker Bombardier.
“India is one of the largest individual markets in the world,” Torbjorn Karlsson, vice-president, Asia Pacific, Bombardier told HT. “As a single-country market, India has the highest demand for turboprops for Bombardier. China has become less of a turboprop market and is more a market for jets.”
The Indian aviation market, said Karlsson, had changed over the years and Bombardier’s Q400 aircraft, CRJ and the new C-series aircraft had got tremendous potential in the region.
“The Indian market is also changing a little bit,” said Karlsson. “If you look back 18 to 24 months ago, it was largely focussed on the capital cities. Everyone was trying to figuring out how to connect Delhi and Mumbai. But these markets are getting saturated now. India as a market is now shifting to more smaller cities and also focusing on cross-border connections.”
“Apart from the domestic sector, we see good potential for connecting smaller cities to regions such as Bangladesh, West Asia, Thailand and Myanmar,” he added.
Bombardier has two customers in India — Air India which has four CRJ-700 aircraft and SpiceJet, which flies 15 Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft.
“We are working closely with the civil aviation authority in India and the Indian government. They have asked for our inputs on how to stimulate traffic. A decade ago, flying was seen as something you did only if you had money. Now, the Indian government has realised the importance of connecting cities. In such a scenario, turboprop aircraft, particularly, will have an important role,” he said.