By Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Boeing Co expects more orders for its planes from Indian airlines as they boost their capacity to keep pace with rising demand in the world’s fastest-growing major aviation market, an executive said on Thursday.
Airlines in India are expected to increase their capacity by at least 25% over the next year as post-pandemic air travel demand rebounds quickly, and long-term growth to settle at 7% annually, outpacing other top high-growth markets, Boeing said.
The U.S. planemaker expects South Asian airlines to order a total of 2,345 aircraft over the next 20 years.
“I certainly expect more widebody orders and I expect more narrowbody orders from India,” Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India told reporters in New Delhi.
Indian skies are dominated by low-cost carriers including IndiGo, SpiceJet and AirAsia India, with the majority of them operating Airbus narrowbody planes.
Boeing however dominates the country’s widebody market where fare wars and high costs have led to casualties among full-service carriers, including Kingfisher Airlines in 2012 and Jet Airways in 2019.
India’s newest budget carrier Akasa Air, Tata Sons-owned Air India and the Jalan-Kalrock consortium at Jet Airways are giving Boeing hope of clawing back share in the market, with new and potential orders for more planes.
Akasa has 72 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes and Vistara – a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Group, has six 787 widebody planes on order. Air India and Jet Airways are close to placing new orders.
SpiceJet, Boeing’s biggest customer in India, has 155 MAX planes on order. However, the loss-making airline has been slow in adding planes to its fleet even after the 737 MAX aircraft was cleared for flying by India’s aviation regulator last year following a global ban prompted by two deadly crashes.
While supply chain snags are expected to continue for some time, Gupte said he hoped to “manage customer expectations” and “get them the products they need as quickly as possible”.
(Reporting by Aditi Shah, writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)