Monday, September 21, 2015

India billionaires want own airport as low fares crowd skies

New Delhi: Onerous rules sometimes delay private planes by days and are causing India’s business jet fleet to shrink even as the economy grows 7 per cent. For a body representing billionaires such as tycoon Anand Mahindra, a step toward friendlier skies is to develop a network of airports just for private jets.
The group, the Business Aircraft Operators Association, is lobbying the government to turn an airport about 137 kilometers (85 miles) from the financial capital Mumbai into the country’s first airfield exclusively for business planes. It’s currently used by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for military aircraft.
Greater China had 330 business jets in 2013, more than double India’s 125, according to estimates from Bombardier Inc. The aerospace company forecasts stronger growth in India than China by 2033 — more than 900 per cent to 1,320 aircraft versus 600 per cent to 2,525.
At the same time, Bombardier says in its market forecast that India’s "business aviation growth potential in the near term continues to be weighed down by high fees, taxes and bureaucracy," adding that fleet expansion has outpaced infrastructure growth, leaving inadequate facilities in Mumbai.
It’s easy to see why pressure from the rich to ease bottlenecks may intensify.
India is the fastest-growing major economy along with China, and according to Cap Gemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada the wealth of its high net worth individuals expanded at the quickest pace in the world last year to US$785 billion (RM3.3 trillion). That provides plenty of ammunition for plane purchases.
The nation of 1.27 billion also has the seventh-biggest land area, with hundreds of airports that are too small for commercial airliners. Business jets can also be used as air ambulances, and are able to fly to remote areas.
21/09/15 Malaymail Online
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