Friday, February 25, 2011

Business Aviation In India Calls For Improved Infrastructure

Aviation Daily Feb 25 , 2011 , p. 14
Neelam Mathews

While business aviation is emerging as a high-growth sector in India, the industry wants a new policy framework that will address issues related to infrastructure, safety and security, proponents told the recent Indian Business Aviation summit in Delhi.

A report by Sydney-based consultancy Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India says the industry could see new aircraft sales—business jets, helicopters, turboprops and piston engines—of up to $12 billion by the end of the next decade, when the general aviation fleet is expected to reach 2,000 aircraft, up from the current 680.

The signs are already evident. Embraer Business Jets, for instance, has broken into the Indian market with its Phenom model. It is delivering the third Phenom 100 jet—of 20 on order—to Mumbai-based air charter Invision Air Services. The order includes two Embraer Phenom 300 jets. By the end of the year, Embraer will have delivered six Phenom 100s to Indian customers, bringing the total in the country to 10.

Embraer has also secured a customer for its up-market Lineage 1000s–in the category of the Global Express and Gulfstream 450–with a list price of around $53 million. It expects to sign another contract by the end of the year.

“India needs more heliports. Despite having world-class airports like Mumbai and Delhi, there is no significant fixed-base operator in India, which is a roadblock to the growth of the sector,” says Karan Singh, VP of the Business Aviation Association of India.

“There is an urgent need for the recognition of the role of general aviation at a policy level, application of high and consistent regulatory and training standards, and relaxation of the present negative fiscal environment (heavy taxes),” says CAPA CEO South Asia Kapil Kaul.

Meanwhile, Reliance Infrastructure, which has five private airports in the western state of Maharashtra, has offered night parking for business jets constrained for space in Mumbai and Pune.

“With Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India developing at a fast pace, the time will come when business jets will find their way to smaller airports. At the moment, they continue to fight for space in major airports of Delhi and Mumbai,” says a civil aviation ministry official.

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