Indian Carriers Need To Have More Wide-body Planes To Capture Long-haul Segment: Scindia

Indian Carriers Need To Have More Wide-body Planes To Capture Long-haul Segment: Scindia

by India Infrahub - Thursday, December 15, 2022 09:01 PM IST
Indian Carriers Need To Have More Wide-body Planes To Capture Long-haul Segment: Scindia
b777-200lr air india/

India's civil aviation market is poised for a double-digit growth in the next decade and the country's carriers should have more wide-body planes to capture the long haul segment, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Thursday.

At the event for inaugurating Air India's direct flight from Mumbai to San Francisco, he also said that discussions have happened with airlines and the effort is to make Delhi the country's first international hub.

''We have 86 international carriers coming into India and only 5 national carriers taking people to international destinations outside India. However, these 5 carriers that fly overseas hold 36 per cent market share. We have to look at increasing international to international traffic. That is why I have been urging all our carriers that we need to have more wide-body aircraft so that we can capture the long haul route market,'' he said here.

Currently, India is largely a narrow-body aircraft market, with popular jets in action being Airbus A320 or a Boeing B737.Narrow-body aircraft currently account for 82.5% of the current fleet of major commercial Indian airlines, whereas wide-body aircraft are at 7%. 

Narrow-body aeroplanes typically offer a seating capacity of 180-200 passengers, whereas a wide-body aircraft can seat more than 300 passengers. A wide-body typically offers a better customer experience and can also operate direct long-haul flights, whereas a narrow-body aircraft generally offers no-frills service and is ideal for short-to-medium-haul flights. 

For instance, Air India currently has 113 aircraft in its fleet, including 70 narrow-body planes and 43 wide-body aircraft. 

Scindia also said that Indian carriers' share of international to international traffic is only around 2 per cent compared to flag carriers of different countries.

''We need to push further, stronger, faster,'' Scindia said.

Air India, which was taken over by Tata group in January this year, is expanding its flights as well as fleet. The airline will launch flights from Mumbai to New York, Paris and Frankfurt in early 2023.

''I am confident about the expansion plan Air India has in place for the long haul routes... Air India will forge ahead that will be in the interest of the country and the requirement of the country... (the airline) has a long history of international service, value propositions, taking culture abroad.

''You (Air India) are in the position of soft power as well. Kindly bring that to your fold and your value proposition as you go forward,'' the minister said.

While mentioning that the number of airports, heliports and waterdromes in the country has increased to 145 in the last eight years, the minister said there has been democratisation of the civil aviation sector.

''From a low base of 63 million travellers in 2013-14, we reached 144 million travellers in 2019-20. A similar growth has been experienced on the international side. Today, India is the third largest civil aviation market in the world and is poised for double digit growth in the next decade,'' he added.

The country's civil aviation sector has grown at 10.6 per cent CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) over the last 10 years.

(With inputs from PTI)

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