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New Delhi: American plane maker Boeing Co. has upgraded its India demand forecast and now expects airlines in the world’s fastest growing aviation market to order as many as 2,100 planes worth $290 billion over the next 20 years.

The latest Boeing forecast expects demand to rise by 250 planes from last year’s 1,850 planes.

Indian airlines now have a fleet of 490 planes with 880 on order. The current forecast is sharply higher than what it was in 2005, when Boeing expected Indian airlines to buy 470 planes worth $35 billion over the next 20 years.

“Commercial aerospace demand in India continues to grow at unprecedented rates," Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Planes, said on Monday.

This increase is led by strong passenger demand, low fuel prices, high load factor, strong local currency and strong economic growth.

This mix works well for India’s aviation market - especially for the low-cost carriers, Boeing said, adding Indian economy will be the third largest by 2037 with only China and US ahead of it.

India’s aviation market is led by Air India Ltd, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (IndiGo), SpiceJet Ltd, Jet Airways (India) Ltd, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India among other regional players.

Nearly 120 million passengers in India will fly in 2017 compared with 100 million last year.

Air India offers the highest number of seats in the market and it increased its capacity by 8% as of July from a year ago; IndiGo, which had the second largest capacity increased it by 20%; Jet by 9%; SpiceJet by 25%; GoAir by 20%.

Traffic is growing at 20%, far exceeding the global average of 7.3% and domestic traffic increased 23% in 2016 with low-cost airlines making up 60% of that traffic, Boeing said.

The plane-maker expects Jet to order more planes to replace its fleet of 90 Boeing planes. The airline has 75 on order which won’t be enough to replace and expand in a growth market.

It also expects Air India Express to add more planes but is unsure of Air India’s plans. The airline is undergoing a disinvestment process.

Air India is set to get the last planes from its 68-plane $11-billion order made in 2006. It will get three 787 Dreamliners by October and three Boeing 777 long haul jets by early 2018.

SpiceJet and Jet are also set to receive orders Boeing 737 Max from next year.

Keskar said some Boeing planes are also being leased to Indian carriers over the next few months.

Indian aviation provides direct employment to 220,000 people besides lakhs of indirect jobs. This figure will double by 2026-27, according to consulting firm CAPA.

Still, the forecast of 2,100 planes could change if there are infrastructure constraints that are already haunting major metro airports.

“You won’t get the number if you just can’t fly," Keskar warned.

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