NEW DELHI: Planemaker Boeing Co expects Indian airlines to boost their capacity by at least 25% over the next year as demand rebounds quickly in the world’s fastest-growing major market, an executive said on Thursday.
“We are forecasting airlines to rebound quickly and add 25-plus percent annual seats back into the market,” Dave Schulte, the managing director for regional marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters.
In the longer term, Boeing expects an annual capacity increase of 7% in India, outpacing other top high-growth markets, he added.
Indian skies are dominated by low-cost carriers (LCCs) including IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoFirst and AirAsia India, with the majority of them operating Airbus narrowbody planes.
Boeing dominates India’s widebody market but fare wars and high costs have led to casualties among full-service carriers, including Kingfisher Airlines in 2012 and Jet Airways in 2019, making LCCs and Airbus even more dominant.
But India’s newest budget carrier Akasa Air and new owners Tata and Sons at Air India and the Jalan-Kalrock consortium at Jet Airways are giving the US planemaker hope of clawing back share in the Indian market as they eye more plane orders.
Akasa has 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes on order. Boeing’s biggest customer in India, SpiceJet, said on Wednesday it plans to induct more MAX planes in its fleet even as it struggles to make timely payments to vendors and lessors, prompting some of them to deregister and take back planes.
The loss-making airline has 155 MAX jets on order but has been slow in adding planes to its fleet even after the aircraft was cleared for flying by the country’s aviation regulator last year following a global ban sparked by two deadly crashes.