News / Asia

As India's Economy Booms, Demand for Private Jets Grows

Man runs over red carpet to new Airbus A318 (File photo)
Man runs over red carpet to new Airbus A318 (File photo)
Anjana Pasricha

In India, the demand for private jets is growing at a rapid pace as an expanding economy throws up a new class of billionaires, millionaires and affluent businessmen.

Mahesh Iyer is a senior executive at the Bangalore-based Shamanur Group.  It is involved in businesses ranging from sugar mills to real estate, education and aviation.

He is among a growing number of Indian businessmen and corporate executives who frequently use a private jet to fly them whenever and wherever they want.

Iyer says it helps save time and gives company executives better control over their schedule.

“Now I am in Colombo, I have got only one flight going to Bangalore in the evening, so if somebody wants to go in the morning, then he can take a private jet, I mean if it is important that he has to go for a meeting in the morning,” Iyer explained.   

More money

As the ranks of the affluent increase in India, so too the numbers of private jets. The tally of private planes in the country is now 142 - up nearly 50 percent in three years. This is a fraction of the number in Western countries like the United States, but according to the global consulting firm, Frost and Sullivan, India has the maximum number of private jets in Asia - more than in China.    

The private planes vary from the Hawker Beechcrafts to the luxurious Airbus corporate jet.  India’s richest man - Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani -- gave an Airbus jet to his wife as a gift.

While India’s growing band of billionaires and millionaires are snapping up their own jets, many businesses are hiring them from a host of private jet charters that have come into the market to take advantage of the growing demand.

Lease or own?

Bangalore-based Jupiter Aviation is one of the companies that leases private jets. Julian D’Souza, a Jupiter executive, says business is expanding at nearly 15 percent a year.

“Private jets is a happening thing," explained D'Souza. "What happened in U.S. and Europe about 10 years back is happening today in India, slowly getting on to corporate honchos where people do not have time to go and wait at an airport and get a commercial flight, so this is the most happening thing. You just enter the airport, and you walk into your aircraft and in most places, your vehicle walks [comes] right to the gate and picks you up.”

Rental costs vary from $1500 dollars an hour for a smaller aircraft to $100,000 an hour for the bigger and more luxurious planes.

But that does not deter customers, who want to escape flight delays, traffic jams, and need faster connectivity.    

Convenience

Aviation analysts say the private planes are not just seen as symbols of wealth but as a necessary cost of doing business efficiently.  

Aviation analyst Rajan Mehra in New Delhi says the rapid growth of the economy in the last five years has helped businesses expand their operations both within and outside India.

But commercial flights are still limited to major metropolitan areas, excluding many parts of the vast country, and prompting a range of businessmen to fly in private planes.    

“It is not just industrialists right now who are going in private jets, even corporate heads, even medium level businessmen who are realizing that with distances far in India," noted Mehra, "where infrastructure is not always available for large commercial jets in the interiors, the best thing is to do is to have a small plane and be able to visit their factories, their other offices in the interiors so India is bound to be among the top countries as far as private jets go.”

It is certainly boom times for the industry. And with forecasts that India’s business jet fleet could grow three times by the end of this decade, more Bomardiers, Gulfstreams and Cessnas are expected to be seen in Indian skies.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs