The Indian aviation sector would be a “very strong business” in the long run and would surpass all growth projections, Airbus (India) president Kiran Rao has said.
Airbus, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, is the dominant player in India’s commercial aircraft market with a market share of around 70%.
The Toulouse-based aviation giant estimates that Indian carriers will need some 1,000 new aircraft including over 60 of the size of A380s, which seat more than 550, by 2028 to meet passenger and freight demand.
Ten years from now, “thousand planes will seem like a small number,” he said.
“When I first joined Airbus in India in 1996, the forecast for India was less than 200 airplanes for 20 years,” he said. “We had to patch Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and everybody else on top of it to make it even 200 airplanes. Now we are doing deals which for one airline are more than 200 airplanes, so either our forecasting was wrong or the market went much further than we thought.”
How would Indian carriers sustain when airlines are losing money worldwide? “At the moment it’s a tough situation in India, but in the long run it will be very solid business,” Rao said.
“Profitability gets hit hard when there is an economic crisis,” he elaborated. “The first thing people stop spending money on is air travel...You can’t stop eating and drinking... We will go through ups and downs. We will see more airplanes come in. What’s not going to happen is all of them shut down and there is no airline (left) in India.”