Airbus Upbeat on Indian Civil Aviation Sector

Airbus has shown its confidence in the dynamic growth of the Indian civil aviation sector and has predicted that India will need 2,840 new planes and 41,000 pilots in next 20 years

By Asad Mirza

Wings India

WI show 5

Hyderabad. Inaugurating the Wings India 2024, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed satisfaction on the way Indian aviation sector manufacturers have kept pace and expanded their capacities by ‘leaps and bounds’, “There is not a single aircraft that is produced by Airbus or Boeing internationally today that does not carry a part that is made in India,” Scindia added.

With the two aircraft manufacturers now sourcing all kinds of parts from India, Scindia said “the time is right” for them to look at setting-up a final assembly line for planes in the country.

While India has been lobbying quietly for jet assembly for several years, Airbus and Boeing have focused more on increasing sourcing and procurement from the country.

Aerospace analysts say assembly represents just 5% to 7% of a plane’s value, yet is often seen as a political win.

The latest push comes amid large plane orders for Airbus and Boeing. IndiGo placed a record order for 500 Airbus planes last year while Air India has ordered 470 planes split between the two manufacturers.

On Thursday, January 18, India’s newest airline Akasa Air ordered 150 narrow body planes from Boeing.

At a press conference on the same day, Airbus India and South Asia president and managing director Rémi Maillard said that India would need 2,840 new aircraft and 41,000 pilots as well as 47,000 technical staff in the next 20 years.

Maillard further said that Airbus is seeing good demand for orders from India and expects to double the company’s sourcing from the country from $750 million at present.

Maillard said that in 2023, Airbus booked a record order of 750 aircraft at the Paris Air Show, following deals for 500 jets from budget carrier IndiGo and 250 from Air India, adding that the aircraft manufacturing giant has delivered 75 units to Indian carriers – 41 to Indigo, 19 to Air India, 14 to Vistara and one to Go First.

“India is a force that will power global aviation over the next decades…the forecast is that India will require 2,840 new aircraft over the next 20 years to serve the needs of its growing aviation market,” Maillard said.

Maillard further said in the next 20 years, India will not only remain the fastest-growing economy in the world with 6.2% growth annually but also the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, investing close to $12 billion in building new airports and refurbishing existing ones, aiming to have about 200 airports within five years, up from 150 today.

The president of Airbus India and South Asia also committed to increasing its manufacturing base in India.

Airbus and Air India are planning to step up a new joint venture training centre in Gurugram, Haryana, which will have 10 simulators and will aim to train 5,000 pilots in the next decade.

Earlier in 2021, the European aviation major signed a deal with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), the defence arm of Tata Group, to manufacture C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force in Vadodara of Gujarat.

Under the agreement, Airbus was to deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain within four years and the subsequent 40 aircraft were to be manufactured and assembled by the TASL in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two firms.

Airbus has more than 40 suppliers in India, including Tata Advanced Systems and Mahindra Aerospace, which provide components and services for its commercial and defence aircraft as well as helicopter platforms.

In the coming years, the European plane-maker expects to double the company’s sourcing to $ 1.5 billion from the country from $750 million at present.