Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Domestic airlines to order more wide-body planes as more Indians fly overseas

Two Indian carriers are expected to place significant orders for wide-bodied aircraft, one of which could be significant, according to a latest assessment by aviation consultant CAPA.

Wide-bodied aircraft form a mere 1.5% of the current fleet of a total 550 aircraft of Indian carriers. About 1,000 aircraft are on order, most of which are narrow-bodied aircraft with single aisle that can accommodate a fewer number of passengers.

These aircraft are being acquired for domestic flights or short international routes.

The wide-bodied plane, on the other hand, has two aisles, more seats and is, therefore, used for long distance flights or on high-density domestic routes.

Aviation industry insiders said the demand for wide-bodied aircraft is arising as Indian carriers are now preferring to use them on heavily congested routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Bengaluru, etc, as the slots available are scarce and demand growth explosive.

But most importantly the carriers are eager to expand out in the international market, triggering demand for the larger planes.

CAPA expects the domestic aviation industry to grow 20% this fiscal.

Devesh Agarwal, a Bengaluru-based aviation expert said the Indian carriers will deploy wide-bodied planes on busy domestic routes such as Mumbai-Delhi purely for the lack of slot availability.

"Otherwise, it makes no economic sense," he said.

CAPA said the financials of airline companies will be impacted this fiscal due to rising fuel costs, weakened rupee and aggressive capacity inductions.
22/05/18 Shahkar Abidi/DNA