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

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa 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.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs