SP's Airbuz - - Newsbrief -

The In­dian air­line in­dus­try is ex­pand­ing, but the num­ber of wide-body air­lin­ers has shrunk from 63 out of a to­tal air­craft strength of 614 in 2018 to 43, a de­vel­op­ment is not in con­form­ity with the global norm in which wide-body air­craft make up 20 per cent of an air­line’s fleet. In In­dia, cur­rently, the share of these planes is only seven perc ent, down from over 10 per cent in the be­gin­ning of this year. With­out these planes, which have more space and can carry more fuel, air­lines can­not of­fer a com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence on medium or long-haul flights or carry a larger num­ber of pas­sen­gers.

The col­lapse of Jet Air­ways has ev­ery­thing to do with the fall­ing num­ber of widebody air­craft. “You can­not have a shrink­ing wide-body air­craft mar­ket in a coun­try where avi­a­tion is grow­ing. We see a large op­por­tu­nity in this space where now we only have Air In­dia op­er­at­ing,” says Vikram Rai, head of GE Avi­a­tion in In­dia which has vir­tual mo­nop­oly in the wide-body air­craft en­gine mar­ket. GE and CFM, which is a joint ven­ture with Safran Air­craft En­gines, has over 300 nar­row-body and 40 wide-body air­craft en­gines in op­er­a­tion in In­dia. It is a key player with cur­rent or­ders of 800 nar­row­body and six wide-body air­craft en­gines.

The in­dus­try needs to add 80 more widebody air­craft to reach the global av­er­age. In In­dia, in 2018-19, there were 344 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, of which 68-70 mil­lion were out­bound, which is 20 per cent, say es­ti­mates. With­out a suf­fi­cient num­ber of such planes for these medium- and long-haul flights, In­dian car­ri­ers are be­ing dis­placed by global car­ri­ers whose share of out­bound in­ter­na­tional traf­fic on the medium and long-haul routes is go­ing up.

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