India now leads Asia’s post-pandemic recovery as it’s the only large market in Asia which is above pre-pandemic levels, according to Darrel Hulst, Vice President, Commercial Marketing, Boeing. 

While monthly traffic in India in 2023 was seven percent higher than what it was in 2019, inn the long haul (international) traffic, India is again leading with 30 percent higher capacity over the same in 2019, he said adding: “By April 2024, it will be 50 percent higher than the same in 2019.”

South Asia, including India, will need 2,705 new planes by 2042 out of which 86 percent will be single aisle aircraft, Hulst said. Out of this total 2,705 needed in South Asia, India alone will need about 92 percent of the airplanes. “Demographic tailwinds will propel air travel growth in India,” the Boeing official said. From present 15, India’s cargo planes will go up to 80 over next 20 years according to estimates. 

The ‘fastest’ growth of India’s economy over the next three years and increase in the middle income households are among other drivers for growth. 

 “Indian low-cost carriers continue to stimulate demand and connect emerging regions with low fares, holding nearly a 90 pc share of all domestic seats in the region. This reflects the rapid pace of the region’s recovery and economic activity, as traffic and capacity now exceed pre-pandemic levels,’‘ he said. 

Globally, the fleets are now essentially at pre-pandemic size and productivity and there are over 2000 aircraft deliveries pending globally, Hulst said. According to Boeing’s projection, 42,592 new airplanes would be required globally over the next 20 years. 

Referring to the strengths of Indian market, Ashwin Naidu, Managing Director- Commercial Marketing, Eurasia & Indian Subcontinent · Boeing said the consolidation of 75 percent of the market by Indigo and Tata, robust load factors, stabilisation of domestic yields were expected to further support growth. “We also see that Cargo is now not an afterthought but a strategic advantage for diversified revenue,’‘ Naidu added.

There are, however, some challenges too, according to Naidu, in the form of higher aviation fuel taxes compared global levels, market share imbalances and hyper-competition


When asked on the possible adverse impact of a recent incident involving 737 Max 9 aircraft on pending or scheduled delivery of new aircraft, Hulst replied in the negative. “We have already announced an additional layer of quality,’‘ he said, adding that scrutiny of all products was also being done. He refused to speak on the details of the ongoing investigation. 

Early this month, a door of Alaska Air Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft blew off mid air. However, no one was injured in the mishap and the aircraft safely landed in Portland, US after declaring an emergency. Though no airlines in India currently operate Max 9,  The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed Indian carriers to carry out an inspection of emergency exits of Boeing 737 Max aircraft in their fleet.