Monday, October 02, 2023

India a ‘priority market’ for GE Aerospace, says South Asia CEO Vikram Rai; stresses addition of 130-150 more wide-body aircraft

One of the leading aircraft engine makers GE Aerospace’s South Asia CEO Vikram Rai called India a “focus market and a priority market for GE Aerospace”, adding that India’s rapidly evolving civil aviation market has the potential to have 130-150 more wide-body planes amid the airlines expanding their operations. He also said that the more wide-body aircraft can be used on dense domestic routes, such as the Delhi-Mumbai route.

As per Rai, India has “great potential” and domestic airlines would consider having more wide-body aircraft in their fleet and deploy them on dense routes in the country. The domestic airlines have nearly 1,500 aircraft on order.

“I see wide-body aircraft as a growth path for us and the airlines which is a win-win (scenario),” he told PTI.

At present, India has around 700 commercial planes in operation and only about 50 of them are wide-body. Tata Group-owned Air India has around 49 wide-body aircraft in its fleet while IndiGo has two wet-leased wide-body planes in operation.

The current fleet of wide-body aircraft in India would require replacements. Talking about the addition of 130-150 wide-body planes in India, Rai said rising international passengers also bode well for the wide-body segment.

In view of the rising air traffic, the Indian government is also working to build international aviation hubs in India to help domestic carriers fly passengers directly to various overseas destinations. “We have to get to a point where we can get end-to-end carrying our passengers. That is the next step of growth we are talking about,” Rai said.

Even the government has been pushing the Indian carriers to have more wide-body aircraft to pocket a higher share in the long haul segment.

Rai said that with the addition of more wide-body aircraft, parking slot constraints will also see a reduction. He said that on dense routes such as Delhi-Mumbai, rather than having two narrow-body aircraft and consuming the parking slots in Mumbai, airlines could look at deploying a wide-body plane.

He cited the example of Japanese and Chinese markets where wide-body planes are used for a lot of domestic operations.

02/10/2023 Financial Express

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