New Delhi: India’s business jet market is seeing a spurt in sales, led by demand for entry-level ‘light jets’ that can be purchased for Rs.16 crore, or just Rs.4 crore more than a luxury car brand such as Bugatti Veyron.
The demand signals an increasing number of smaller companies and high networth individuals can now afford to buy private jets or rent them for business or leisure trips, say experts.
India has the largest fleet of business jets in Asia at 122, up from 26 in 2005. Another 125 business jets are on order, of which at least 40 are light jets—smaller-cabin jets that can fly four-six people and are light in weight, according to the consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
This month, Mumbai-based Invision Air Pvt. Ltd will induct India’s first light jet, Embraer Phenom 100. The chartered carrier has ordered 19 more jets that it will add to its fleet gradually, said Jayant Nadkarni, a director at Invision Air.
In November, Bangalore-based Aviators (India) Pvt. Ltd, a 17-year-old chartered carrier, is expecting delivery of a Phenom 100 light aircraft.
Brazilian aircraft maker Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica SA (Embraer) has sold 170 Phenom jets. Another 380 are on order, including 40 in India, said Alex Glock, vice-president, marketing and sales, Embraer Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
Cessna Aircraft Co.’s Mustang is its main rival, but Honda Aircraft Co. and the Mitsubishi group also have plans to enter the market. Cessna has developed a Mustang variant for India to meet the strict guidelines of the regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said Santosh Deshpande, executive vice-president, Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd, which sells Cessna aircraft in the country.
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