India has enough potential for recurring aircraft orders: GE Aerospace

GE Aerospace's Country Head for South Asia & Indonesia Vikram Rai told that the supply chain situation will be better this year, compared to 2022

Press Trust of India New Delhi
civil aviation

Leading engine maker GE Aerospace has said there is enough potential for recurring aircraft orders by Indian carriers as massive growth is happening in the country's civil aviation space.

Against the backdrop of Tata Group-owned Air India placing firm orders for 470 aircraft, a top official of GE Aerospace also said that India, which is the world's third largest aviation market, has the potential for growth in both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft.

Besides, GE Aerospace's Country Head for South Asia & Indonesia Vikram Rai told PTI that the supply chain situation will be better this year, compared to 2022.

There are around 700 commercial planes flying in India, with a majority of them being narrow-body aircraft. The civil aviation ministry is also working on ways to make an international aviation hub for which Indian carriers will have to have more wide-body planes in order to carry international traffic.

Referring to the aircraft orders, Rai said these orders are huge "but there is enough potential for recurring orders to happen for the next few years because of massive growth that is happening... as the economy grows, disposable income grows, people tend to travel".

The Indian market is likely to exceed the pre-COVID growth and the domestic air traffic is expected to double. Also, the government is doing a fantastic job in ramping up infrastructure, Rai adding that there will be huge traffic between Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities.

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GE Aerospace has a firm order for 40 GEnx-1B and 20 GE9X engines for Air India's 20 Boeing 787 and 10 Boeing 777X aircraft that are on order. They have also entered into a multi-year TrueChoice engine services agreement.

Besides, Air India has ordered for more than 800 LEAP engines from CFM -- an equal joint venture between GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines. The engine order is for the airline's entire narrow-body purchase of 210 Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 MAX-family aircraft. It also includes a multi-year CFM services agreement.

According to Rai, India has the potential to grow both on the wide-body and narrow-body side. "You have only 45 to 50 wide-bodies in the country for a population of 1.4 billion".

Providing a perspective, he said that in India, pre-COVID traffic was around 75 million international passengers and out of them, 60-65 per cent used foreign carriers.

"With the economy growing and disposable income growing, there is a huge opportunity for Indians to travel abroad... This 75 million passengers is likely to go to 120-125 million over the next 7-10 years," he said.

Earlier this week, Air India placed firm orders for 70 wide-body aircraft, including 40 from Airbus and 30 from Boeing. These planes are to be delivered over a period of time.

"By the time they are delivered, nearly half of them which are in operation will be due for retirement. This particular fleet will mainly cater for retirement and little bit of growth. So, it is important that airlines focus on wide-body...," Rai emphasised.

Rai said the Air India engine order is a big thing for the company and that there is a huge potential in the Indian market.

"India is the third largest civil aviation market in the world and it will be the (most) populous country exceeding China. Currently, the middle class population is around 440 million which is more than the US population which is (more than) 300 million. The US has 5,500 to 6,000 commercial aircraft... we have 1,200 on order," he noted.

On the supply chain woes which are impacting various industries, including civil aviation, Rai said the supply chain situation will be better this year compared to 2022.

"We would still expect some challenges. We are closely engaging with suppliers, increasing our supply base, working with customers and we are... continuously improving the operations," he said.

GE, which has been in the Indian civil aviation sector for more than four decades, is "excited" to be in this market as most of the aircraft that are on order by domestic carriers are set to be powered by engines from GE Aerospace and CFM.

"About 1,200 aircraft are on order and approximately 1,100 will be powered by GE or CFM," Rai said.

GE Aerospace has powered Air India since 1982, when the airline took delivery of its first CF6-powered Airbus A300.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Feb 19 2023 | 2:58 PM IST

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