Boeing sees demand for 1960 narrow-body aircraft over next 20 years

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 07, 2021

Boeing expects that India will require over 2,230 new aircraft over the next 20 years of which 1,960 or 88 per cent of the demand, will be for narrow body aircraft. Boeing made these projections in a press conference here on Wednesday.

Narrow body aircraft are the Boeing 737 and Airbus A 320 variety of aircraft typically flown on routes which are within India or connect India with countries in South-East Asia like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia or in South Asia like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

This variety of aircraft is unlike the widebody which is capable of flying non-stop from India to London, Europe, US, Canada, Australia and other far off continents.

Boeing estimates that Indian airlines will require 260 wide-body aircraft, constituting 12 per cent of the 20-year market forecast being done by the US-based aircraft manufacturer.

David Schulte, Managing Director, Regional Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said Boeing estimates the current Indian domestic aviation market has reached almost 86 per cent of the 2019 levels and 76 per cent of the 2020 levels.

Domestic airlines flew 14. 41 crore passengers in 2019, up from 13.89 crore the previous year. Coronavirus saw the domestic airlines being grounded for two months last year and slowly being allowed to restart operations. At the moment, domestic airlines are allowed to operate 80 per cent of the flights that they operated in the pre-Covid times.

Recovery seen

Schulte sees the Indian domestic market recovering this year. When asked about the second wave of Covid and its impact on aircraft deliveries, Schulte said, “We need to see how it plays out in terms of the aviation market. Our forecast is showing we are on trend for a 2021 domestic market recovery to 2019 traffic levels. We will definitely be playing close attention to the current situation with the increased number of cases throughout India and certain markets.”

He added that the market forecast takes into account what might happen (in terms of more aircraft being ordered) when Air India is privatised.

On when the Boeing 737 MAX will restart flying in India, Salil Gupte, President Boeing India, said the, “timeline for ungrounding of the MAX lies with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.”

The Boeing 737 MAX, which was grounded globally in March 2019 has now started taking to the skies after global regulators like the US based Federal Aviation Administration cleared it for flight after they were satisfied with the modifications which Boeing has carried out to make the aircraft safer.

In this region, the Dubai-based flydubai will restart operations of this variety of aircraft from April 8.

Published on April 07, 2021

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