Thursday, November 8, 2012

Exclusive! AAPA- India on its mind

Neelam Mathews in Kuala Lumpur
Nov 8, 2012

AAPAs 56th Assembly of Presidents concentrates on its members primarily in the Asean region, But talk aviation with very senior people here, and the state of Indian aviation crops up as the primary subject of interest.
It is embarrassing to hear tales of woe from lessors, insurance agents, OEMs and anybody who is a vendor about payments not being made primarily by Kingfisher and airports setting a bad example by not letting the claimed planes go. In case we didn't realize people didn't care, lets think again. The aviation community is so big, yet so small, somebody told me here. And how true that is! Everybody's fortune, seems to be intrinsically linked with each other.
"People are scared of fuel prices, airport charges that go up and down and are waiting for the regulatory environment to pan out," said an official here on condition of anonymity. He did add that nothing much was expected to move till India's elections were over. So we lose another two years! 
In the aviation  industry, where its still tough to make money, airlines have an average profitability of $1 per passenger, according to AAPA.
"India is struggling," said Martin Robert Eran-Tasker, Technical Director of AAPA. "Everybody is losing money there (India)...... We are not looking at India for a while," confirmed a senior official of Bangkok Airways.
According to AAPA DG, Andrew Herdman, India's inability to keep up its infrastructure in line with its passenger growth is hurting."India has huge potential, (and) it is regrettable that infrastructure including air navigation has not kept up." As India's traffic doubles in size, it has implications for fleet, air navigation and airports, he added.
There are some eternal die-hards however. Take Dinesh Keskar, Boeing's Senior VP of Asia Pacific, who has made record-breaking sales to Indonesia's Lion Air, eternally confident that Boeing's  optimist 20-year  forecast for India will prove itself right.
Till then, however, those of us who try to understand how the world sees us, for the moment at least, I'm sorry its not a rosy picture. 

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