New Delhi: India’s commercial airplane market will reach $150 billion over the next 20 years, Boeing said on Wednesday, as a burgeoning middle class is expected to drive demand in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Indian carriers have orders worth $40 billion in the pipeline, as an economy growing at nearly 9% is spurring business travel and the middle class, long accustomed to traveling by rail, is now increasingly opting for air.
India, the second-fastest growing major economy in the world, is likely to maintain strong growth, boosting both air travel and air cargo markets, Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar said in a statement posted on its website.
India’s passenger traffic is seen growing at 8.1% annually over the long term, compared with a global growth of 5.1%, Boeing said.
With a population of 1.2 billion, India has only 300 aircrafts. By contrast, China, which is itself poised for dramatic growth, has 1,400 large jets for 1.3 billion people.
India’s largest private carrier Jet Airways , state-run Air India and low-cost carrier SpiceJet have over $12 billion worth of orders, with more in the pipeline.
Demand for new aircrafts in India “is driven by growth in developing and emerging cities, demand from low-cost carriers and the need to replace an ageing fleet,” Keskar said.
Connectivity remains inadequate through much of India, and airport infrastructure is non-existent in many smaller cities. However, ambitious expansion plans are under way, which once completed will boost air traffic in smaller cities.
Asian budget airlines placed a record $42 billion in plane orders during the Paris Airshow last month, signalling their high expectations for travel in the world’s fastest growing market and also triggering worries some may not survive.
Of that, Indian airlines walked away with a $23 billion gamble that air will finally conquer rail despite a formidable list of obstacle, with unlisted carrier IndiGo finalising an order for 180 jets, and GoAir placing an order for 72 Airbus jets.
India is likely to buy as many as 1,320 new airplanes by 2030, out of a global estimate of 33,500 new airplanes during the period, Boeing said.
Last year, Boeing had predicted 30,900 commercial plane sales globally worth $3.6 trillion over the 20 years up to 2029.