ATR, Bombardier and Embraer are making a strong pitch for their planes, with growing number of Indian airlines planning expansion in regional routes. Bombardier is also promoting its latest C series planes, which will compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 in the narrow body market. The C series plane will make its first flight in June. Torbjorn Karlsson, Bombardier's vice-president (sales), Asia-Pacific, talks to Aneesh Phadnis on the growth of regional aviation in India and the resulting demand for small planes. Edited excerpts:
What is the size of regional jet market in India? What opportunities does Bombardier see here?
Bombardier released a 20-year forecast last year and our estimate is that India will require about 640 planes in the 60-149 seats category. India and China will be the top two markets in this category over the next 20 years. India is a significant market place for us. The regional market in India is under-served because of the airlines' focus on planes with a capacity of 180 or more seats.
Why has the regional market remained under-served?
It's due to a number of factors. Predominantly, air travel in India has grown from capital cities. That's where you have the airports. But what you are seeing now is that a growing number of Indians from the hinterland are getting accustomed to speed and convenience of air travel. I see regional air transport take off with SpiceJet connecting tier-II and-III cities.
09/03/13 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard