Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The China presence in Indian aviation that few know about

Chinese companies may have made significant inroads into several sectors in India. Relatively unknown, however, has been their growing role in the Indian aviation industry.

About 20 percent of the aircraft operated by Indian carriers have been leased from Chinese lessors, who have made their presence felt in less than a decade in a market that was otherwise dominated by leasing companies from Ireland and the US.

Nearly all Indian airlines, including IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India have leased planes from Chinese players. Only national carrier Air India is not on the list.
Moneycontrol collated the data, talking to industry executives who dipped into their databases.

Of the 480 aircraft that are operated by Indian carriers, 96 are leased from Chinese lessors. In total, about 650 aircraft are currently operational in India. Apart from the commercial airlines, the rest of the planes belong to the 'general aviation' category, including charter service providers.

"In the last few years some Chinese lessors have become quite competitive and as good as their older counterparts from Europe and the US," says Nitin Sarin, Managing Partner of Sarin & Co, which specialises in aviation law. "Chinese lessors have always been sought after, as their terms are cheaper and they are not so stickler for return conditions as compared to the well-established lessors," adds Sarin.

Mark Martin, Founder of aviation advisory firm Martin Consulting, agrees. "Leasing companies from China have been accommodating. That is one reason why airlines from Africa, Eastern Europe and CIS countries now increasingly lease planes from these players. They are pocket-friendly," he says.
01/07/20 Prince Mathews Thomas/
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