Boeing Co. (IW 500/16) on Tuesday hiked its forecast for India's aircraft market by more than 11%, saying the country will require 1,450 new planes worth a total of $175 billion over the next two decades.
Even though India's economic growth has slowed to around 5.5% from near-double-digit levels logged in the last decade, Boeing expects India to post the highest passenger-traffic growth in the world over the next 20 years.
"India's commercial fleet will grow more than 4.5 times in size over the next 20 years," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president for Boeing sales.
Boeing's revised forecast is 11.5% higher than projections of 1,300 aircraft worth $150 billion that Boeing projected last year for India's civil-aviation market.
This growth will be supported by a domestic economy expected to grow at twice the world average, "pushing up discretionary incomes" as an increasing number of Indians join the middle class, Keskar told reporters.
"Even with 5% to 6% annual growth, you will see a minimum 10% growth in passenger traffic," Keskar said.
Keskar, who met with civil-aviation officials Monday, said he could shed no light on delivery delays of three Boeing Dreamliners to loss-making state-run flagship Air India, except to say the hold-up "is not at Boeing's end."
The Dreamliner was supposed to have arrived in India in 2008, but hitches with its production held up delivery.
The government in June said it had agreed to a compensation figure with Boeing over the delay but did not disclose it.
An Air India spokesman told AFP the carrier is awaiting "clearance from some government departments" for the delivery of 27 Dreamliners by 2016.
The number of air trips per year in India's population remains a fractional 0.01% of the nation's population of 1.2 billion people -- highlighting the market's growth potential, Keskar noted.
That passenger-trip frequency is far below the annual average of one airline trip per person in the United States.
Globally, Boeing forecasts a market for 34,000 new passenger aircraft worth $4.5 trillion between 2012-2031 "but the Asia-Pacific region is where the action is shifting," Keskar said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012