Indian airlines are targeting a fleet of about 2,000 aircraft in the next five to seven years as air travel booms, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Monday.
He said it was time for the country to look at the manufacturing of aerospace products as he highlighted the sector’s potential at an industry event.
Aviation consultant CAPA offered a flip side to the story: airlines in India would record a consolidated loss of $1.6 billion to 1.8 billion in the next financial year, it projected. The full-service carriers are expected to incur a $1.1-1.2 billion loss.
The consultancy firm said domestic and international passenger traffic will grow more than 20 per cent in FY24.
Speaking at the summit organised by CAPA, Scindia said “The time is ripe for manufacturing to take off in India. We need to increase the ecosystem of Indian civil aviation”.
According to CAPA, Indian airlines will on a net basis add 132 planes next fiscal, taking the total fleet of all carriers to around 816. While announcing its outlook for 2023-24, CAPA India also said more than 100 planes are on the ground because of supply chain and other issues.
Domestic traffic will increase around 20 per cent year-on-year to 160 million passengers in FY24 while international traffic will be up 22-27 per cent to 72-75 million. “Increased capacity deployment by low cost carriers on international routes will significantly stimulate traffic,” it said.
IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers said the airline is embarking on the next level of growth and cost leadership is crucial for the airline. He noted that the V-shaped recovery of the country’s aviation sector has been part of a learning process.
SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh said the airline is significantly restructuring its balance sheet and will aggressively push for fleet expansion.
The airline will also be having a significant number of dedicated cargo aircraft, he said, adding that the cargo business has helped the airline pay off its liabilities.
Air India will reduce the frequency of flights on certain US routes due to crew shortage issues for a temporary period, its chief Campbell Wilson said.