European OEM Airbus expects that airline traffic in India will grow by 8.1% per year over the next 20 years, almost double the global average of 4.4%.

Like China, India is experiencing a boom in its middle-class population, which is driving substantial increases in air travel. On top of that, rising urbanization and ambitious government-backed regional connectivity programs will also enhance demand. By 2036, predicts Airbus, Indians will each make four times as many flights as today.

This will translate into a demand for 1,750 new passenger and cargo aircraft over the next two decades, Airbus believes, issuing its prediction as the Wings India 2018 exhibition and conference got underway in Hyderabad March 9.

Airbus’s latest India market forecast says that to help meet this growth, the country will need 1,320 new narrowbodies and 430 widebodies, valued at $255 billion at list prices. Its prediction is more modest than that of Boeing, which in August 2017 forecast a demand for 2,100 new aircraft in India, valued at $290 billion, through 2036.

Airbus says domestic Indian traffic is expected to grow five-and-half times over the next 20 years, reaching the same level as US domestic traffic today.

Airbus emphasized its involvement in the Indian manufacturing sector: “Our sourcing volume has grown 16 times over the past 10 years and it is currently at more than $550 million annually,” Airbus Commercial Aircraft in India’s president, Srinivasan Dwarakanath said.

The current pro-business Indian government is in the middle of a massive campaign to encourage international companies to manufacture more products in the country.

"Make-in-India is at the heart of our strategy,” Dwarakanath said. “Airbus has the largest footprint in India of any International aircraft manufacturer, nationwide across all aircraft programs. 

“India is set to become the world’s third largest aviation market by 2019/20 and Airbus is well positioned to partner its growth with backlog orders of over 530 aircraft to date.”   

 Airbus says that it has 60% of the current in-service airliner fleet in India, together with more than a 70% share of the backlog of future orders from Indian carriers.

Alan Dron