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India will need 2,100 planes in next 20 years: Boeing

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Boeing says India will take deliveries of 2,100 new planes worth US$ 290 billion in the next 20 years, calling it the "highest forecast" for the country.

India's share will account for more than 5.1 per cent of the total global demand of 41,030 aircraft, the American aeronautic giant said.

According to Boeing's Current Market Outlook released on Monday, almost 85 per cent of these new planes in India are likely to be single-aisle with low-cost carriers operating more than 60 per cent of all flights.

"The increasing number of passengers combined with a strong exchange rate, low fuel prices and high load factors bode well for India's aviation market, especially the low-cost carriers," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Keskar, however, warned that infrastructure could be a challenge for the country with airports in Mumbai being 'choked'.

This could be one of the factors why bigger planes could grow from current 15 per cent to 25 per cent of the total aircraft, he said.

Boeing said it will revise its projection next year depending on how the government's regional connectivity scheme (RCS) takes off.

The multinational aviation giant expects to benefit from RCS in years to come, when smaller 70-seat aircraft will be replaced by bigger ones such as Boeing's 737s, following an increase in traffic on these routes.

"RCS will allow opening of new routes, thus providing more connectivity. Over the next 4-5 years, the growth on those routes will make a Boeing 737 viable. We are very bullish that if it (RCS) works out, we will be one of the beneficiaries," Keskar said.

The passenger traffic in South Asia is expected to grow at a rate of 8 per cent, followed by China at 6.2 per cent.

The growth rate in the region is likely to be more than double that of Europe (3.7 per cent) and North America (3 per cent).

Boeing has already started the delivery of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft and will be delivering its first 737 MAX 9 next year.

It had also launched its 737 MAX 10 at Paris Air Show earlier this year.

In 2019, Boeing plans to launch 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of the MAX family, as well as 737 MAX 8-200 with 200 economy seats.

Boeing is also planning to replace its Boeing 757 by 2025 with a plane which will have 225-275 seats and will be able to fly approximately 5,000 nautical miles. It also promises to offer "twin aisle comfort for single aisle cost".

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