Monday, March 01, 2021

In Piyush Goyal's pursuit, Airbus has an opportunity Vs Boeing

The occasion to make the announcement was a strange one. But if the Indian government, as Union Minister Piyush Goyal mentioned during his address at Toy Fair 2021, is pursuing Airbus to set up a manufacturing aircraft in India, the timing would be just right for the European aviation giant.

"...I'm actively pursuing Airbus to try and get them to come to India to start manufacturing aeroplanes in India," said Goyal.

Airbus could use the opportunity to cement its dominance in the world's second largest market in terms of aircraft order, over its American rival Boeing. Especially when Boeing, which has been on the back foot since the grounding of its Max 737 aircraft, may have dropped the plan to set up a manufacturing base in India, as per this report.

"Why not? They produce in China and the US. India is now one of their largest A320 markets," said Sanjiv Kapoor, Senior Advisor, Alton Aviation; former COO SpiceJet and CSCO, Vistara, when asked about the possibility of Airbus setting up a manufacturing shop in India.

The A320 aircraft, which is used by IndiGo and GoAir, has helped Airbus keep the lead over Boeing when it comes to commercial aircraft market in India. And it will want to keep it at that.

According to Boeing's own estimate in 2019, Indian aviation market will need 2,380 new commercial airplanes valued at $330 billion in the next 20 years. Though COVID-19 may have clouded that estimate by a bit, the India's domestic aviation market has been among the fastest on the recovery road. And IndiGo, one of the biggest Airbus customers globally, has stayed on its massive fleet expansion plan.

If that is so, why has Boeing trimmed its India plan? "Boeing has lost its way," says a senior executive from the Indian aviation industry.

Though the Max 737 has slowly made a comeback in some parts of the aviation map, Boeing continues to suffer from the aircraft's grounding. And if COVID-19 made recovery all the more difficult, its planes continue to be involved in incidents - not all because of its fault - giving it bad press.

01/03/21 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol

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