Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. expects strong demand in India for private planes as local businesses expand their operations overseas and have a greater need to customize overseas flight plans.
"A dynamic business culture and business expansion are two important factors contributing to a greater need for business travel within and beyond India´s borders," Larry Flynn, senior vice president of marketing and sales at the private aircraft maker, told Dow Jones Newswires recently.
Gulfstream, a wholly owned unit of General Dynamics Corp. (GD), currently has 17 aircraft operating in India.
Flynn said India has just 130 private jets in operation compared with 11,000 in the U.S.
"Gulfstream believes entrepreneurs and business leaders will increasingly see time constraints, imposed by airline travel, as limiting growth," he said. This, he added, will shift corporate air travel to private aviation.
Widespread expansion across India, as well as in various global markets, has created the need for fast and customized long-haul air travel for Indian companies. This has created demand for medium- and long-range business aircraft.
The Business Aviation Association for India pegs the total number of aircraft in the fast-growing economy--including those used by scheduled airlines, helicopters, and business jets-at about 500.
The private jet owners´ group estimates the number to reach 1,400 by 2015.
According to aerospace analyst firm Teal Group, Asia was the strongest market for private jets in 2009, growing 15%. Europe grew 13% and the U.S. expanded just 2%.
Gulfstream has a 40% marketshare for long-range--or long-haul--private jets in India.
"We see opportunities in all our market segments, but especially in the long-range segment, due to increasing global travel requirements among our customers," Flynn said, without giving a forecast.