US aircraft maker Boeing has said India may require 31,000 pilots and some 26,000 mechanics over the next 20 years amid the growing order book of the aircraft original equipment manufacturers.
Speaking on the sidelines of a CII event in Mumbai, Boeing India President Salil Gupte also said the South Asian region is expected to remain the fastest-growing market globally over the next several years.
Courage of the government to go forward and privatise Air India and Tata Group to take up the airlines will transform the Indian aerospace industry, he said.
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“India is going to need over 31,000 pilots and 26,000 mechanics over the next 20 years to take care of the aircraft coming in. This is as important a part of the Indian growth story as the aircraft (orders),” Gupte told reporters.
He said considering India’s air traffic growth, a lot of focus has to be on making infrastructure robust, both hard infrastructure which includes airports as well as critical infrastructure, which includes pilots, among others.
Tata Group-owned Air India last month announced placing orders for a total of 470 planes with both Boeing and European aviation major Airbus.
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Air India’s mega aircraft deal with Boeing, Gupte said, is a massive deal for India as a nation, and added that India is getting representation on the global stage.
Last September, Boeing had projected India’s air traffic growth at around 7 per cent through 2040.
He also said that after coming out of the pandemic, the recovery in air travel demand has stunned the world and Boeing does not see any impact of the financial crisis on air travel growth.
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It is “too early to know what the consequences of the bank situation of the US and Europe and others are going to be. At this stage, we really see no slowdown in the demand for aviation,” Gupte added.
There is a huge market for narrow-body aircraft for Boeing in India, he said and added that, “(as much as) 90 per cent of the market over the next 20 years is going to be a narrow body market and we expect we will be successful in competing for those every single campaign (aircraft order).”
Gupte also emphasised that Boeing has a leadership position in the wide-body (twin aisle) aircraft segment globally and it will remain so in all the markets, including India.
India will become more than a hub for aviation on account of its sheer size and scale as the country’s economy grows, he stated.
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“India is the gateway like China and once it will grow to be (in) the top four economies of the world, it will be more than a hub,” according to him.
The government is working to create an aviation hub in India and various steps, including airlines inducting wide-body aircraft and increasing their fleet size, are being taken, Union minister V K Singh had informed Parliament last month.
(With agency inputs)