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Indian Business Aviation aims at Corporate Travel

New Delhi. Mention the phrase “business jet” to an average person and one thought immediately crosses the mind – oh its for the rich and the famous. Well, it is also for a new breed of professionals who save time for their employers and enhance business prospects.

The term “business aviation” refers to sleek corporate jets and the Fortune 500 companies that use them, is a misperception. The majority of business aviation users are the employees and owners of small and mid-size businesses.

Business aviation is the resolve of the industry to make operations easier in agriculture, emergency medical services, scientific research and security and law enforcement. Experts say the main reason for the rise in demand is that a business aircraft is no more seen as a luxury but a tool for increased productivity. Private or business jets allow business leaders to use their time more productively.

In India business aircraft have continuously evolved to meet the increasing market demands for speed and comfort and the selling prices have increased just as rapidly. With the number of billionaires and high net worth individuals in India growing, business jet makers are intensifying efforts to sell their aircraft in India which industry sources say will need over 250 aircraft in the next 10 years.

The mammoth task ahead for the sector requires the unstinting support and collaboration of the policy makers and the collective will of multi stakeholders committed to making India the regional hub for providing world class aviation services in Asia.

Indian Bus ines s Aviation Expo (IBAE) explored the latest developments in the business aviation sector of India as well as prospects and challenges for the future. It is where business aviation’s top vendors, industry leaders and experts from around the world came together with the emerging Asian market that is eager for information and products that can assist them as they continue to grow into a strong economic leader.

“Business aviation gets the stepchild treatment to civil aviation,” said Capt Karan Singh, Vice-President of Business Aviation Association of India (BAAI). From basic issues such as policy changing, fuel tax, to infrastructure and regulations, the requirement for business aviation and aircraft in India is demanding recognition from the Indian government. He emphasized that fixed base operations are the need of the hour and the government should look seriously into it.

IBAE set the agenda for the business aviation market to set a common goal to lobby Government and the regulatory authorities for due attention to this growing sector.

This first event was aimed at operators, government, industry associations, lawyers, financial and funding institutions, infrastructure planners and providers, pilot groups, MROs, FBOs, OEMs and the full supply and service sector. Operators, government, industry associations, lawyers, financial and funding institutions, IT and software support, infrastructure planners and providers, pilot groups, insurers, MROs, FBOs, OEMs. And aviation trainers participated at the global forum and gained insights into ideal regulatory policies and business solutions for the benefit of the industry.

The role of the Indian Business Aviation Expo was to set the agenda for the emerging business and general aviation sector in India. The event spread over three days provided an appropriate platform for synergy between professionals from different sub sectors of the industry and deliberated on the potential of the business aviation sector in India. A large gathering of over 150 delegates from the business aviation industry attended the event.

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. With the liberalization of the Indian aviation sector, the industry had witnessed a transformation with the entry of the privately owned full service airlines and low cost carriers.

“Corporate aviation is a significant business tool to enable quicker access to corporate customers,” expressed Prem Behl, Chairman, Exhibitions India Group during his opening remarks at IBAE 2010. He added that it was all ready to take off and land smoothly.

National Business Aviation Association of USA stated that the major advantages are sometimes considered to be convenience and cost. Statistical studies indicate that business jets generally are more cost effective than commercial services even when there are commercial services available between the cities involved. Using business aircraft saves four hours travel time and 8 hours productive time per trip. Business aircraft saves hotel bills and overnight time away from home.

The typical business jet trip saves $1,400 in direct costs, airfare, salary, expenses, and $7,600 per trip, giving value to the value of the individual(s) to the company. As a benefit to some executives, smoking is allowed on business jets. The companies state they are able to purify the air and eliminate any odor between flights, states NBAA.

Business jets can land at about 5,500 United States Airports versus about 500 for commercial service. You may need a second jet to take company personnel to two different places at the same time. About 25 per cent of corporate jets are owned by individuals who want or need a jet for personal and family travel as well.

Imagine travelling in your own jet aircraft without actually owning it! Fractional Jet Ownership is another topic which prominently figured in the expo and attracted a lot of attention. A company or individual buys, or leases, a fractional interest in one aircraft just as they might acquire a partial interest in one condo unit.

They can use their own aircraft or another similar or identical aircraft a certain number of hours or days per year just as a condo owner can use the condo a specified number of days or weeks per year. In most programs, if your 1/8 interest aircraft is not available when you want it, you can have access to a larger pool of identical or similar 1/8 interest aircraft fractionally owned or leased by others. This concept is expressed in the logo.

You can sometimes buy or lease a 1/16th interest which would include 50 hours, or a 1/4th interest which would include 200 hours. A 1/16th interest in a Citation Ultra has been quoted at a cost of approximately $80,000, and a 1/4th interest in the new Boeing Business Jet at $11,000,000. Each deal is separately negotiated and some have buyback or the fractional interest buyer or lessor will get a “turnkey” operation of aircraft, crews, scheduling, and maintenance on demand.

Tata Group entered the space to start aircraft charter and fractional ownership programmes in the country and picked up a stake in BJETS – a Singapore- and Mumbai-based personal aviation provider in 2008. But Capt Karan Singh of BAAI was sceptic about the success of fractional ownership in India.

Prasant Sukul, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation said,” Business Aviation of India (BAAI) should list out the issues impacting services provided by the operators, for discussions with the ministry. With points noted, and observations made, IBAE graced the occasion and aimed to bring attention to business aviation in India with the proper support of private and bureaucratic means.

“ With expositions and trade fairs and organisations tailored for this branch to educate the public, a movement has begun, said Kapil Kaul, CEO, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). “The sector needs more coordination from all the stakeholders, to really take advantage of the enormous growth potential that the Indian market has,” he added.

MRO – Trends and Strategies, IT Solutions to address challenges in MRO, status of helicopter industry In India, aviation industry’s growth in India, infrastructure development and role of government bodies like DGCA, Airport Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation were some other topics discussed in the expo.

© India Strategic