India’s $16 billion aviation industry is the ninth largest in the world, having grown 14% annually for the past decade. This growth is attributed to India’s increasing middle class, expected to reach 267 million by 2016.
The Airport Authority of India provides air navigation services and operates 127 airports in the country including 15 international, 87 domestic, and 25 civil airports. India has a total of 352 airports and airstrips.
Airlines in India aim to make air travel more affordable as the number of passengers has also been steadily increasing, from 59 million in 2012 to 68 million in 2014. It is estimated that the total fleet size among all Indian carriers will double to 800 planes by 2020 to accommodate the growing number of passengers. In response to the thriving aviation industry, the Indian government plans to invest $12 billion into building and improving airports.
82% of the commercial scheduled aviation category is controlled by private airlines; the remaining 18% is held by government-owned Air India, the third largest airline company in India. The country’s largest domestic airline, IndiGo, is among the world’s top ten low-cost carriers. In 2014, the company ordered a record 250 single-aisle planes from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Group SE for $26 billion. These planes will add to IndiGo’s existing fleet of 97 between 2018 and 2026.
In the southern city of Bangalore, Airbus established Airbus Training India to train 2,250 airline workers in India and neighboring countries. In 2014, Vistara Airlines, a joint venture between India-based holding company Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, purchased six and ordered 14 planes from Airbus, aiming for a fleet size of twenty by 2018. Airbus is the top supplier for India’s civil helicopters, accounting for about half.
Boeing expanded into the country with a corporate office in Delhi, field service offices in Mumbai and Delhi, and the Boeing Research and Technology India Center in Bangalore. Jeppesen, a flight solutions provider and subsidiary of Boeing, is based in the southern city of Hyderabad. In 2013, Jet Airways, the second largest airline company in India, ordered 50 Boeing 737 MAX commercial planes for $5.4 billion. In 2014, SpiceJet, India’s fourth largest airline, ordered 42 Boeing 737 MAX planes for $4.4 billion.
Pawan Hans is a civil helicopter service in India that began as a national company serving the oil industry in off-shore operations. Its services include rescue work, surveillance, charter services, VIP transportation, and inter-island transportation. It is 51% owned by the government; the remaining 49% is owned by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. Worth $583 million, Pawan Hans has a fleet size of 47.
India’s air charter subsector is a major contributor to the industry. With 46 billionaires and a growing number of millionaires in India, there are high charter demands in cities such as Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad. The wealthiest man in India, Mukesh Ambani, owns a $73 million Boeing Business Jet 2. It is anticipated that the private jet market will double in size in the next five years.