Phenomenal domestic growth fuels India’s aircraft demand

India’s exponential rise in both passenger and freight traffic means the country will need 1,750 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to estimates from Airbus.

With air traffic growth driven by a fast expanding economy, rising wealth and urbanisation, and government-backed regional connectivity programmes, India will require 1,320 new single-aisle aircraft and 430 widebody aircraft over the next two decades.

That’s according to European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in its latest India Market Forecast. It said the total value of the aircraft would be $255bn.

The report predicted that by 2036, Indians will each make four times as many flights as today. As a result, traffic serving the Indian market is forecast to grow 8.1 percent per year over the next 20 years, almost twice as fast as the world average of 4.4 percent.

Domestic Indian traffic is expected to grow five-and-half times over by 2036, reaching the same level as US domestic traffic today.

According to figures from OAG Schedules, domestic air capacity in India rose from 74.2 million available seats in 2008 to 143.2 million in 2017. In the last calendar year alone, domestic capacity increased by 13.8 percent after adding more than 17 million available seats.

The domestic growth comes as India’s government pushes its regional connectivity scheme (RCS), also known as UDAN, which aims to make air travel affordable and widespread. 

The programme seeks to develop new and enhance the existing regional airports, as well as connecting more than 100 underserved and unserved airports in smaller towns.

India's domestic and international capacity (2008-2017):

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