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PRIVATE AVIATION


India flies ahead


The worlds wealthiest continue to have an insatiable appetite for luxury goods, from mansions to fast cars, but over the past few years the ultimate symbol of status and power has become the private jet.


A Who’s flying?


The following manufacturers make up private jets registered in India (March 2011 figures: Ö Hawker Beechcraft – 35 private jets – 26 per cent India’s private jet fleet


Ö Cessna Aircraft Company – 31 jets.


Ö Bombardier – 24 Ö Dassault Falcon Jet –17 Ö Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. – 15


Ö Embraer – 9 Ö Boeing –3 Ö Airbus – 2


s the number of billionaires in Asia increases, so too does the number of private jets. This is especially the case in India, which is making


the most of this booming market for private aviation. At present, India has almost double the number of private jets in China, despite China having more billionaires than India. The cost of private jets varies between US$4 million


to $58 million, however, aviation analysts say that in India they are not just seen as symbols of wealth, but as a necessary cost of doing business efficiently. Aviation analyst Rajan Mehra in New Delhi told Voice of America the rapid growth of the economy in the last five years has helped businesses expand their operations both within and outside India. Commercial flights in India 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 now not just industrialists who are


traveling in private jets. Even corporate heads and medium level businessmen are realizing that with such huge distances in India, where infrastructure is not always available for large commercial jets in the interior, the best thing is to do is to have a small plane to be able to visit their factories or other offices in the interiors. So India is


126 FAMILY OFFICE: ASIA TOMORROW


bound to be among the top countries as far as private jets go,” says Mehra. The rise in private aviation will soon put India fourth


in the world for private jet ownership, according to Advance Jets. Currently, it ranks eighteenth in the world. A report on the business aviation sector in India,


released by the Firestone Management Group in March 2011 noted a growth rate of 46 per cent over the previous 36 months, with 43 new aircraft joining a fleet of 136 already in the country. Interestingly, none of these private jets are


secondhand. Of the 136 private jets, 95 were manufactured less than 10 years ago, representing nearly 70 per cent of the current installed base of aircraft currently registered in India. “The growth opportunity for private jet manufacturers


to deliver their products into India is tremendous,” says Justin Firestone, managing director of Firestone Management Group. “As the world’s largest democracy, the second-


most populous country and one of the fastest-growing major economies, this quantitative data indicates India is clearly embracing the need for safe and efficient business jet travel.” Charter flights are also a booming business in India,


with reports saying the industry is growing at 70 per cent. Another option offered by some companies is to become a fractional aircraft owner, which means you purchase an undivided interest in a specific, serial- numbered aircraft. India enjoys liberal regulations for the landing of


private jets at airports, but at present jet parking is usually restricted to the larger metro airports such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.


Annie May


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