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Global Airlines Eye India’s Burgeoning Travel Market; Industry Anticipates Rapid Growth

4 weeks ago
Global Airlines Eye India’s Burgeoning Travel Market

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Global airlines are expanding flights and schedules in India, with expectations that the country will become a major travel market over the next decade, according to airline officials and analysts.


Focus on India at Major Aviation Summit

India’s rapid growth in the aviation sector was a key topic at the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) summit in Dubai, where global airline CEOs and aircraft leasing companies gathered. The surge in domestic and international air travel in India is drawing significant attention.

Government data indicates that India’s domestic air travel market, which hit a record 152 million passengers in 2023, is projected to double to 300 million passengers.

International travel is expected to grow even faster, with passenger numbers increasing from 64 million last year to 160 million by 2030, according to aviation research group CAPA India.


New Routes and Strategic Partnerships

To capitalize on this growth, Turkish Airlines is considering new routes between its southern beach town of Antalya and India. The airline’s chairman, Ahmet Bolat, mentioned the possibility of operating these flights through Sun Express, a joint venture with Lufthansa, or through its Indian codeshare partner IndiGo.

Meanwhile, Hungary-based budget carrier Wizz Air plans to launch its first flights to India next year, as stated by CEO Jozsef Varadi at a separate aviation conference in New Delhi organized by CAPA India.


Expanding Fleets

India’s major airlines, IndiGo and Tata Group’s Air India, have responded to the optimistic outlook by placing record orders for hundreds of new planes, which will be delivered over the next decade.


Fleet Expansion and Leasing Opportunities

India’s aircraft fleet is projected to grow from around 700 to over 1,500 by 2030, with many planes financed through sale and leaseback deals, making the country appealing to aircraft lessors.

Firoz Tarapore, CEO of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, highlighted the unmatched demand growth in India, making it an attractive market for lessors.

The Indian government is supporting this expansion with a $12 billion investment in new and upgraded airports. “India is taking its place on the world stage,” IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers said at the IATA summit.


International Airlines Seek More Access

Despite the enthusiasm, some international airlines are frustrated by limited market access. Emirates and Turkish Airlines seek more flight capacity rights in India, but the Indian government is prioritizing domestic carriers.

Emirates President Tim Clark criticized these restrictions, saying they compromise the strength of India’s economy.


Potential for Major Travel Growth

Much of the anticipated growth in India’s travel market is expected to come from its vast diaspora of 35 million people and a growing number of young, adventurous Indian travelers with rising incomes.

Independent aviation analyst Brendan Sobie suggested that India could experience a travel surge similar to what China saw in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic.


This report is based on information provided by Reuters.