Imagine buying an aircraft for the price of a high-end Mercedes Benz car. It has been happening quietly, and the trend is catching on. The price tag can be as low as Rs. 70 lakh.
As the number of billionaires multiply in the country’s fast-growing economy, Western aircraft makers are lining up to sell flying machines to individuals, clubs and companies in India. But by and large, they remain the zone of hobbyists, and not in the commercial run.
German plane maker Flight Designs has just launched through its Indian distributor Carver Aviation a two-seater turbo prop plane CTLS for Rs 90 lakh inclusive of all costs, and with it an airworthy certification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“Over 1,000 CTLS planes have been sold across the world so far and it is one of the safest planes in its category,” said Sanjiv Bhatia, CEO of Swank Aviation, which is marketing the plane in India. “We have approached over 150 prospective buyers and plan to sell 12 to 20 planes this year.”
The CTLS costs more than the cheapest Cessna C-162, which industry sources estimate has an Indian price of around Rs. 70 lakh. There are 200 Cessnas in the country.
Flight Designs says its 326 kg CTLS is the cheapest when it comes to measuring a per-hour flying cost, which comes to just under Rs. 1,600 if it flies 1,000 hours a year. Notably, the plane can fly with commonly available unleaded petrol.