Europe's Airbus said Dec. 7 it would hike investment in India to at least one billion dollars as it forecast the country would need 1,100 new planes over 20 years to meet soaring travel demand. The aircraft maker had pledged to plow back $500 million to $600 million into India over the next decade as part of a $2.5 billion deal in early 2006 to sell 43 aircraft to state-owned carrier Indian, Airbus said.
The commitment to spend on training, engineering and other projects came as Airbus forecast India would need 1,100 new aircraft over the next two decades -- 935 passenger planes and 165 cargo -- worth a total of $105 billion. India now has 198 planes.
More than 50% of the existing fleet in India is made up of Airbus planes and the aircraft maker has won 75% of orders placed in 2006. Boeing has grabbed 25%.
India is emerging as the world's fastest-growing nation for air travel demand, with average annual passenger traffic growth of 7.7% forecast through to 2025, Airbus added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006