Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Domestic air travel in India to retun to pre-Covid levels before year-end: Boeing

New Delhi: India’s domestic air travel is “leading global recovery” for aircraft being used for flights within a country during the pandemic, Boeing said on Wednesday while presenting its annual current market outlook (CMO) for the next 20 years. While closely watching impact of the ongoing sharp surge in Covid cases in India and resultant restrictions, the US aerospace major expects domestic air travel to return to the pre-Covid 2019 levels before the end of this year and then double by 2030.

“Despite significant impact of Covid-19 on demand, the same is expected to recover to 2019 levels by second half of 2022. Domestic demand expected to recover first to 2019 levels through 2021. International traffic forecast to follow with full recovery through 2023. India overall demand to double by 2030,” Boeing’s CMO says. Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) segment will lead recovery in air travel, followed by leisure and then business travel.

With India expected to lead global economic growth in GDP terms over the next two decades — overtaking China in that period, — Boeing estimates the country will require 2,230 new aircraft by 2040. India is expected to have a fleet of 2,340 aircraft, up from current about 600.

The break-up of this 2,230 deliveries is led by single aisles at 1,960 (88%); 260 widebody (12%) and about 10 regional jets (1%). However with the pandemic fuelling demand for direct travel between India and rest of the world instead of going one-stop via foreign hubs, this projected requirement for twin aisles may increase.

“The entire India-North America nonstop market is served 100% by our Boeing 787 Dreamliners and B777. A number of new routes to North America have been started by Air India using the B777. United (Bengaluru-San Francisco and Delhi-Chicago); American Airlines (Bengaluru-Seattle) and Air Canada (Delhi-Montreal) have all been announced using the B787-9. We see more widebodies being required for direct long hauls in coming times,” said Dave Schulte, Boeing’s MD (marketing) for India and APAC.

While the demand for wide body may increase, single aisles will remain the largest chunk of aircraft requirement. The single aisle market in India is dominated predominantly by Boeing rich rival Airbus thanks to its best-seller A320 family of aircraft and a financially strong customer like IndiGo. Boeing 737s are used by SpiceJet and Air India Express.

07/04/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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