Indian air travel soaring

Travel — By on August 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm

India’s aviation industry has recently flown through a turbulent patch. As soaring fuel prices were followed by the global downturn, India’s airline struggled with rocketing costs, and a sharp drop in passenger numbers, as Indians sharply pared back air travel. But that was last year. All together, Indian airlines, including bloated state carrier Air India, its private fullservice rivals Jet and Kingfisher, and low-cost carriers like Indigo and SpiceJet, lost an estimated $2bn in the 2009 financial year. Jet and Kingfisher both  leased out or sold off surplus planes, and postponed delivery of new ones But Indian carriers are now regaining altitude – and with it, their hunger for more planes. The number of Indian air travellers has bounced back sharply, rising around 22 per cent from January to June of 2010 from the same time last year.

Passenger loads have risen to a healthy 78 per cent, up from 65 per cent at the depth of the crisis. Low-cost carriers are faring even better, with passenger load factors of between 85 to 90 per cent. Jet Airways even recently reported a tiny profit of Rs35.2m in the April-June first quarter of the current financial year, compared to Rs2.25bn loss at the same time last year, while Kingfisher reported a narrowing of its first-quarter losses to Rs1.87bn compared to Rs.2.37bn last year. Long term, growth prospects are huge. India’s 1.1bn people currently take just 0.03 flights per person per year, compared to 1.6 in the US, one of the most developed air travel markets. That means there is a huge untapped potential. In a bullish assessment, Boeing has just forecast that South Asia’s aviation market, including India, will grow an average of 8.4 per cent over the next twenty years. This is expected to translate into a $130bn market for around 1,150 planes over the next 20 years. Already, budget carrier SpiceJet announced last week that it had ordered 30 Boeing planes for $2.7bn for delivery from 2014. If the forecasts turn out to be correct then Boeing, its rivals Airbus, and even smaller players like Brazil’s Embraer are surely set for cloud nine.

Comments are closed.

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Linkedin button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button