Shuffling between cities and visiting remote locations has become easier for corporate India that has turned towards executive jets to ferry them whenever and wherever they want. "India has realized a 46 percent increase in registered private jets in the past 36 months," Justin Lee Firestone, Group Managing Director, Firestone Management, which recently came out with a bi-annual report on Indian aviation said, as per an IANS report.
Though small in number, the niche is witnessing a boom, thereby
attracting all major aircraft manufacturers to India. Firestone added
"The growth opportunity for private jet manufacturers to deliver their
products into India is tremendous.”
The report says that India currently has a total of 136 private jets
made by global aircraft manufacturers like Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna,
Bombardier and Gulfstream. The spurt in demand of these technologically
advanced and luxurious aircraft is the realisation of an unmet demand
and current travel needs of the industry, said Amber Dubey, Director for
Aerospace and Defence with global consultancy KPMG.
"With the demand for business travel on the rise, corporate sector and
high-net individuals have started to realise the benefits of owning an
executive jet. It saves time and gives hassle-free travel," added Dubey.
Dubey further foresees the demand for the executive jet sector to be on
the higher side in the coming three-to-four years. Currently, private
jets' range varies from around USD 4 million to USD 58 million.
The owners' club includes DLF's KP Singh, Raymond's Gautam Singhania, Reliance Group's Mukesh Ambani and GMR group's GM Rao. According to the official data by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the private jet fleet in the country is around 135 out of a total of 1,146 aircraft. "Yes, we do receive many applications from different sectors and companies who want to obtain the permission to import these aircraft," said a DGCA official. The official added, "The process takes its own course with a lot of pre-planning that goes into deciding many factors like jet parking, aircraft size and minimum required instruments in the plane."
According to the official norm, industrial houses and private owners who seek to import their own private jets need to be registered with the DGCA as a non-scheduled operator. “Many corporate houses have registered their own -- non-scheduled operator company - with the agency. Once the registration process is completed the company operates the aircraft as per its organisation's requirements," the official said.
But the high growth rate in acquisition of the niche aircraft type may be dampened with a recently-imposed import duty of 2.5 per cent on the aircraft. Dubey feels that the need and demand for these aircraft would remain high even if the cost of acquiring the aircraft becomes a bit costly. "It will just get a little costlier to have the aircraft, but the advantages that it provides are tremendous," Dubey said.
Trends within the niche sector suggest that the Indian customer is now more attracted to technologically advanced jet-powered executive aircraft rather than the propeller-driven ones. "The interesting fact which has come out is the demand shift in executive jets, from propeller driven aircraft to more technologically advanced jets which are faster and provide more comfort," said Ashok Pratap Rai, Chief Executive, charter aircraft service provider Club One Air.
Other business like exclusive distributorship and maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services of these aviation marvels are also witnessing a similar boom as their product is in heavy demand. InterGlobe Established Products Ltd, which runs the low-cost carrier IndiGo, has launched its new business of exclusive distributorship of executive jets, seaplanes and helicopters.
The company's portfolio of exclusive aviation products include, Hawker Beechcraft products, Sikorsky helicopters, Dornier Seaplanes and Pacific Aerospace's P750. "There is a huge potential not only for executive jets but seaplanes and helicopters as well," said Nigel Harwood, President and Chief Executive, InterGlobe Established Products Ltd.
Another boost for the growing segment could come from Delhi International Airport Ltd. The company is expected to make a decision soon on an integrated domestic-cum-international terminal complex for LCC and private jets.
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