Boeing, Airbus eye Indian growth amid fears of global slowdown

Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:35am EDT
 
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By Sweta Singh

HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) - Boeing BA.N and Airbus AIR.PA expect Indian airlines to order up to 1,740 jets over the next 20 years, as aircraft manufacturers eye one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets to offset any weaker sales elsewhere.

Boeing said on Thursday falling fuel prices, increasing numbers of Indians wealthy enough to travel by air and improved airport infrastructure would boost orders.

The company expects airlines to buy 1,740 planes worth $240 billion by 2034, its senior vice president for Asia-Pacific and India sales, Dinesh Keskar, said at an event at this week's Indian Aviation air show in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Airbus, at the same event, forecast India would require more than 1,600 passenger and freighter aircraft, three-quarters of them narrowbody jets, over the next 20 years, worth $224 billion of business.

"India's growth can help offset the slowdown in other parts of the world," Boeing's Keskar told Reuters.

Aircraft executives are looking to India to support sales after global economic uncertainty overshadowed recent aviation shows in Singapore and Dubai, raising worries about a slowdown in orders.

However, planemakers meeting in Singapore last month defied industry skeptics, saying an unprecedented expansion in the aerospace industry was into its eighth year, supported recently by low oil prices.

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Flight test engineers drive the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) after its first flight in Colomiers near Toulouse, southwestern France, September 25, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau