Despite Air India deal, Indian aviation is lagging behind China by a lot: Mark Martin

Even as Tata Group-owned Air India announced mega aircraft deal with Boeing and Airbus, Mark Martin, founder and CEO, Martin Consulting said Indian aviation still has a lot of catching up to do with China in terms of fleet size.

“The total number of aircraft, at least commercial airline aircraft, in India is between 800 and 900. India has been
adding aircraft on wet leaves, which one really cannot count as our own homegrown fleet because they don’t belong to our country. Given our population of 1.4 billion and the 50 million global diaspora, I’d probably peg the effective number of vectors that India should have has to be between 3,500 to 5,000 aircraft. Today, China has a fleet size of 4,500 aircraft. So, India is clearly lagging behind,” the aviation expert told Business Today TV.

The provisional deals include 220 planes from Boeing and 250 from Airbus and eclipse previous records for a single airline as Air India vies with IndiGo to serve what will soon be the world’s largest population.

The Airbus order includes 210 A320neo narrowbody planes and 40 A350 widebody aircraft, which Air India will use to fly “ultra-long routes”, Tata Chairman N Chandrasekaran said. Boeing will supply 190 737 MAX, 20 of its 787 Dreamliners and 10 mini-jumbo 777X.

Martin said the ticket size of the order can be roughly $110 billion but Tata would ultimately end up investing up to $150 billion-$200 billion.

“We’re expecting Tatas to invest close to at least about $150 billion-$200 billion in Air India, which is an optimal figure,” he said. 

Martin also spoke about the comforts these aircraft would offer. 

“Travelers flying on A350 would be delightfully surprised and enthused with an aircraft that is ridiculously quiet. The aircraft has much lower cabin altitude, which means the pressurisation is very good and you arrive less tired, less fatigued, more refreshed. It’ll have wonderful in-flight entertainment system and comfortable seats that would take care
of your back with proper lumbar support. Air India is also expected to have onboard bars and cafes and sort of a lounge
in the same manner they had back in the 70s, which actually started a whole revolution in the world with more comfortable washrooms. Wider and more efficient galleys so that passengers can have at least a proper two- or three-meal service in addition to faster gate turns, improved reliability, very low delays. With these aircraft one will truly enjoy air travel the way it’s meant to be,” he said.