With the country entering its seventh month of lockdown, speakers on the panel on business aviation in India were not most optimistic for the current market. Atiesh Mishra, sales representative, India, Boutsen Aviation said: “It is a stagnant market.
“Before the lockdown in March, I had some deals with aircraft owners who wanted to sell if they were getting a good deal. But from March to September things have been very quiet,” Mishra said.
Captain Sandeep Saraf, director of operations, Pinnacle Air and Nilesh Pattanayak, regional VP, Asia Pacific, Bombardier Aviation agreed, reinforcing that the first quarter was extremely optimistic but that there is a long way to go.
One of the issues, the panel said, was the pace at which India’s civil aviation authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has been regulating activity. “We have to change the mindset in the DGCA, to make it easier for people to own, operate and fly business aviation,” said Pattanayak.
Pattanayak also told delegates there had been a flurry of activity in the sub-$20m aircraft range this year. “We have a lot of interest coming from concept buyers – first-time buyers – and we are trying to give them all the information so that they move forward when the time is right,” he said.
Many of these concept buyers are corporate clients and business owners looking to switch over from flying commercial. Mishra said that at the moment, however, “everyone in India is focused on getting their businesses up and running again”.
Although an audience poll showed that 79% of the delegates are very optimistic and 14% were fairly optimistic for the sector, Mishra is not optimistic that the fleet will grow drastically in the near future. He said he expected to see a plus or minus one per cent growth, similar to the past five years.
Speakers called for a positive attitude, from the government, towards business aviation in India, and stated that one of the solutions was boosting growth in local FBO and maintenance infrastructure.
Follow more of the content from Corporate Jet Investor’s Asia event here.