Indian business jet fleet survey

Alasdair Whyte

Firestone Management Group, a private jet advisory, says there are 136 private jets registered in India with 43 jets added in the last 36 months.

Justin Firestone understands why people get so excited the future for business jets in China but he thinks many are overlooking the opportunities that India also offers. The former president of Hawker Beechcraft Asia, founder and CEO of jet card firm Asia Jet and a former salesman at Marquis Jet sales says: “I describe India as a sleeper cell of business aviation. It is going to be a massive market but it is growing in a completely different way.”

Firestone Management Group says China’s fleet of 116 private aircraft is dominated by larger cabin aircraft – with Gulfstream accounting for 35% of the fleet – whilst smaller and mid-size jets are growing faster in India. “In some ways it is a more positive story to see Cessna and Hawker leading the charge as it shows that it is primarily a business market with corporates and entrepreneurs buying aircraft so they can see two or more factories in a day,” says Firestone. “I have never seen Gulfstream at the bottom of any league table. It is very interesting particularly as the clearly have great products.”

Indian business jet fleet in April 2011
Manufacturer Number of aircraft Market share
Hawker Beechcraft 35 26%
Cessna 31 23%
Bombardier 24 18%
Dassault 17 13%
Gulfstream 15 11%
Embraer 9 6%
Boeing 3 4%
Airbus 2 2%
Total 136 103 (rounded)

Firestone believes that there are three challenges that the industry needs to face: the provision of spares in India; pilot and maintenance training; and regulation. “No manufacturer has bonded spares in the country and so in real terms it takes a week to 10 days to get a part in,” he says. Firestone says that manufacturers are hesitant to create spares depots in the country because of issues with import duty and excise.

He says that 70% of business jet owners also own a helicopter.

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