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  Financial Express (All Editions)
                                     Report on Business Aviation

While the Indian scheduled air carrier sector is facing hard times due to
escalating operating cost, the Indian private and business jet sector is still
growing at a phenomenal rate. This sector is expected to trounce the
commercial sector by operational fleet within the next three to five years

E                                                  Flying now is all about money
              ven the minister of civil avi-
              ation, Praful Patel agrees
              that the Indian private jet
              sector will explode to 500 air-
              craft within the next five
years or earlier.
    Easier norms as compared to those
governing commercial aircraft and lower
operating cost coupled with fact that most
individuals that own private aircraft can          shire Hathway promoted Netjets, Execu-        entertainment and communications
very well afford them make the sector one          jets and Vistajets have announced plans       equipment.
to watch out for.                                  to set up shop in India.                          Most of the biggest companies in
    India is already considered the coun-              Already there are a number of charter     India like Real estate major DLF
try with the fastest growing number of             companies in India like Manav Singh pro-      group, TVS Motors, power and air-
millionaires and billionaires.                     moted Club One Air and Religare pro-          port major GMR Group and con-
    According to the annual World Wealth           moted Ran air in expansion mode.              sumer durables giant Videocon have
Report released by investment major Mer-               Charter firms are huge contributors to    all received permission to buy or
rill Lynch and consultancy Capgemini,              the growth of private jets in the country .   lease corporate jets. Others like Re-
India saw its millionaire population surg-         Many potential business jet owners travel     liance Industries, the UB Group and
ing in 2007 by 22.6% -- highest in the world.      by charter aircraft and then decide to buy    the Raymonds group, which already
The number of High-Net Worth Individ-              their own looking at the benefits.            have corporate jets, are adding to
uals (HNWIs) in India grew to about                    Sensing a burgeoning market, com-         their fleets.
1,23,000 at the end of 2007, up from 100,015       mercial airlines like Air Deccan and Kin-         Videocon already has a Beech
last year.                                         fisher are also looking at starting corpo-    King Air 350, DLF a Gulfstream and
    And looking at the sheer value for             rate charter airlines.                        a Sikorsky S-92, TVS Motors a
money that owning a business jet brings,               According to sources,the DGCA has al-     Beechcraft Superking Air B-200 and
the country's HNWIs are acquiring their            ready given the green light to around 70      Reliance Industries an Airbus A319
jets at record speed.                              odd companies to buy around 100 busi-         CJ, a Falcon 900EX and a Global Ex-
    And the jets do cost a pretty bundle.          ness and personal aircraft since the begin-   press XRS apart from others.
The new machines range from $1 million             ning of this year.These include a smorgas-        Experts believe buying a jet may be
to a staggering $80 million. The high-end          board of VLJs, helicopters, turboprops        cheaper than chartering in the long
features include a personal bedroom, of-           (propeller driven aircraft), helicopters      run as the hourly flying cost of an
fice space, modern communication facil-            and huge business jets fitted with board-     owned jet is around Rs 35,000 to Rs 1.5
ities and even a jacuzzi.                          room like interiors and state of the art      lakh as against a total cost for a char-
    At present, the country's private jet                                                        tered aircraft which is around Rs 1.5
market is dominated by US-based Cessna                                                           lakhs to Rs 3.5 lakhs.
and Hawker Beechcraft,but other players
                                                           LOOK WHO'S                                Some of the biggest private jets
especially high-end players like Boeing,                     FLYING                              like the Gulfstream or Bomabardier
Gulfstream, Embraer and Bombardier                                                               Global express have a range of 7,000
                                                         SOME OF THE TOP INDIAN
are fast catching up.                               BUSINESSMEN WHO OWN PRIVATE JETS             nautical miles and include facilities
    All the major players, around a dozen,                                                       like king size beds, internet and
have already announced plans to launch                             RATAN TATA                    phone connections and a dedicated
major distribution and after-sales main-                           Falcon 2000                   service crew including an onboard
tenance facilities in the country to expand                                                      gourmet chef.
and capture a major chunk of the Indian                     MUKESH AMBANI                            And the orders are mainly coming
private aircraft market.                                                                         from companies involved in mining,
                                                      Bombardier Global Express, Falcon
    Last year Hawker Beechcraft opened                                                           oil and gas,manufacturing,retail and
                                                        900EX, Airbus Corporate Jet
their exclusive maintenance and distribu-                                                        construction.
tion centre through a partnership with                                                               But why is India Inc going crazy to
Gurgaon based Interglobe Aviation at the                       ANIL AMBANI                       buy the jets at such extraordinary
Indira Gandhi International Airport in                     Falcon 2000, Falcon 7X,               prices. Arun Sharma, who heads a
New Delhi.                                               Bombardier Global Express               company called The Aviators that of-
    So after Bentleys and Rolls Royces, In-                                                      fers complete solutions for business
dia's super rich are now looking at Gulf-                   LAKSHMI MITTAL                                                ,
                                                                                                 aviation in the country says the rea-
streams and Aerion jets.                                 Bombardier Global Express,              son has everything to do with the
    At least six HNWIs from india have al-                    Gulfstream GV                                .
                                                                                                 economy "With the economy grow-
ready placed orders for the supersonic                                                           ing up and more money being avail-
Aerion jet priced at a swooning $80 mil-                                                         able, perspectives are changing. Peo-
                                                               KP SINGH OF DLF
lion.The aircraft is expected to come into                                                       ple are looking forward to luxury and
production in 2012 but already six Indians                      Gulfstream GIV                   comfort that comes with a private jet,"
among 80 globally have put up around                                                             Sharma says.
$500,000 to book their Aerion.                                  VIJAY MALLYA                         The amount of time saved and flex-
    Data from both the Centre of Asia Pa-                    Airbus Corporate Jet                ibility allowed due to the private air-
cific Aviation (CAPA) and the Directorate                                                        craft is unrivalled.
General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) agree                       GAUTAM SINGHANIA                        According to Nilesh Pattanayak
that the private jets market in the country                    Challenger 604                    who represents Bombardier in India,
has jumped from barely two dozen five                                                            every 400 hours flown on a private jet
years ago to around 200 now with the In-                                                         saves around a months time.And well
                                                           TULSI TANTI OF SUZLON
dian market currently valued at around                                                           "Time is Money" says an aviation an-
                                                                 Citation XL
Rs 400 crores.                                                                                   alysts from Mukesh Ambani's Re-
    The biggest companies like Boeing and                                                        liance Industries.
Airbus have been in the country since the                                                            Even the Prime Minister's office
1950s and companies like Bombardier ad-                                                          believes in this model of efficiency
mit that more than half their global rev-                                                        improvement in operations. The In-
enues over the next few years will come                                                          dian Air Force has ordered three Boe-
from India.                                                                                      ing Business jets for the Prime Min-
    And its not just Indians buying the air-                                                     ister's international travel. Of these,
craft that is leading to the huge surge but                                                      two have already been delivered and
a number of private charter companies                                                            are being refurbished while the third
based out of Europe and Asia like Berk-                                                          is on its way .