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be raised to 49 percent. The Indian government already permits a 74 percent stake in domestic all-cargo airlines in the form of foreign direct investment from non-Indian interests.

Manufacturers’ outlook In its current 20-year World Air Cargo Forecast, Boeing Commercial Airplanes predicts that while world air cargo growth will expand at a 5.8 percent annual rate for the next five years, the Indian air freight market will grow at a faster rate of 8.5 percent a year over the same period. Boeing India president Dinesh Keskar

commented: “Robust growth with new economic prosperity amongst a massive Indian population, discretionary incomes, business progress and access to airports will increase airplane demand.” As a result, he said that “both the air travel and air cargo markets will grow”. European aircraft maker Airbus

considers that the Indian aviation sector will be a “very strong business” in the long run. The Toulouse-based company estimates that Indian carriers will need some 1,000 new aircraft – including over 60 A380-size aircraft – by 2028 to meet the current projections of passenger and freight demand. Ten years from now a “thousand

planes will seem like a small number”, said Airbus (India) president Kiran Rao. “At the moment it’s a tough situation in India, but in the long run it will be very solid business.” Govindarajan Bashyam, chief

operating officer of Chennai-based training consultancy Tirwin Management Services, feels that the Indian air freight industry can match up to its potential in the future. “Though the going may be dull

right now, the future will certainly see great growth,” he said. New products and new markets will drive the industry, Bashyam believes, but he cautions that the amount of bureaucracy, a lack of user-friendly processes and the shortage of physical infrastructure is holding back the development of the air cargo business in India. So, with huge aircraft orders in place, a

massive scheme to build new airports and upgrade existing gateways, as well as a burning ambition to succeed from those working in industry and commerce, the air freight industry in India is still making only slow, uncertain, cash- strapped steps in its progression. Nevertheless, after 65 years of independence, the country’s private sector is a mature market and it has a wide scope. India’s entrepreneurs have the capacity to rise to the occasion.

Reins of progress One of India’s most closely guarded treasures is its democratic process. Unfortunately, with a massive population fed by a vibrant, vociferous and popular media, development of the air logistics business in India at the speed required in the modern world often appears to be hampered because it really does seem that everyone demands a say. In many ways India has suffered from a

series of relatively ineffective coalition governments that have prevented the country from pursuing its goals with the single-minded determination of nations like China or the UAE; it is here that an effective leadership needs to step in, firmly take hold of the reins of progress and drive the country forward.



“both the air travel and

air cargo markets will grow”

now a “thousand planes will seem like a small number”

Ten years from

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