Business jet arrivals and departures rise amid increase in global investor interest

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's overseas trips seem to be drumming up interest among prospective global investors who have been flocking to India on business jets and filling the business and first-class cabins of commercials flights.

Overseas business jet arrivals and departures rose 12% in the April-November period from the year earlier. The increase is stark when compared with the 7% decline in non-scheduled aircraft movements in FY15 from the year before. According to government data, total international non-scheduled aircraft movements declined to 7,869 in FY15 from 8,466.

In the business jet space, one landing and takeoff are counted as two aircraft movements.

The aviation industry credits the increase in international charters to the overall improvement of India's image under the Modi government and global investor events organized by various state governments.

"There seems to be an increasing interest from global businesses propelled by various initiatives from the government, which could possibly explain increased movement of International charters lately," said Jayant Nadkarni, president of the Business Aircraft Operators Association lobby group. "Also, many states have played host to international conclaves and forums, contributing to the overall increase."

Business aircraft operators in India said they have seen a surge in bookings by multinational companies.

"We have seen a surge in MNCs booking our planes to ferry their foreign executives visiting India," said Bhupesh Joshi, CEO of Club One Air, one of the country's largest air charter companies. "The charter plane demand inside India has also improved and the utilisation of our planes has doubled."

Joshi added that the company is adding one more aircraft to its fleet of eight to take advantage of the surge in demand.

International carriers say that loads in the front-end of their cabin are encouraging. "India is of strategic importance for Lufthansa and we have seen excellent response from the market. As a policy we cannot share any figures but we can state that our occupancy rates across all classes on both inbound and outbound routes have been developing extremely well," Wolfgang Will, director- South Asia at Lufthansa said in an email response.

Thursday, 14 January, 2016
The Economic Times