“We hope this report leads to action. This report will be widely distributed in the government, in DGCA, operators and others and we hope this report will make a difference.”
Business Aviation in India continues to remain much below its potential. In sharp contrast to the growth of Scheduled Airlines, Business Aviation in India over the last 5 years charted a meagre 2% growth. Provided certain immediate and long term actions are taken, India is looking at a relatively conservative fleet growth projections of about 7% over a long period, a median between best case of 12% and as is case today of 2%, according to the first industry report released by Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) along with its knowledge partner- Martin Consulting LLC.
“The aim of the BAOA Industry Report is to present and make aware the contribution, role and strategic fulcrum, that Business Aviation has played with shaping the India of today. Business Aviation is no longer a corporate status symbol, but an imperative business tool needed by Captains of Industry and National Leaders to grow in a highly competitive global business environment” said Jayant Nadkarni, President, Business Aircraft Operators Association.
Elaborating the unique contents of the report and how it is different, Jayant Nadkarni added, “What is really different is that it gives an overall perspective. There was no overall perspective given in the past. Business Aviation and Scheduled Airlines are two sides of the same coin. The report is basically targeted at solutions and how to move forward with an overall perspective. Also, the report brings in an international perspective. We have been in touch with IBAC, International business aviation council and its members and the report gives a global perspective on how things are done while not forgetting the Indian perspective. The big reason why this report is different! People would want to hold on to this report. Read it repeatedly and keep it as a reference for the future. We hope this report leads to action. This report will be widely distributed in the government, in DGCA, operators and others and we hope this report will make a difference”.
Commenting on the state of business aviation and how this report came about, Jayant said, “We can really grow and a lot depends upon how we move to dismantle various rules and infrastructure hurdles. We really need to move it up. It is sad that a country that is growing at 7.5% GDP for so long and has 20% plus growth for the scheduled airlines has such a small growth in business aviation. This does not happen anywhere else in the world. This report is useful in that connection”. He went on to acknowledge the contributions made by Rohit Kapur, former President BAOA, Commander Pradeep Agarwal, Col Sanjay Julka and Mark Martin of Martin Consulting for their initiative, time and efforts in coming out with this report.
The report highlights examples of efficiencies imparted by Business Aviation, and how this sector makes the country more stable and secure, as employment and economic sustenance is provided to people through industries that are set up by businesses. It enhances economic development which goes on to benefit the common man and a resurgent India. This was showcased by Col Sanjay Julka, Vice President, BAOA when he presented the case of Raigarh and how Business Aviation indirectly promoted the growth of this city.
“What emerges from this report is a powerful message. That message is Business Aviation is the catalyst India needs to grow and attain its regional and global supremacy; and we are firm in our judgment that the challenges and hurdles this industry faces must not be overlooked as that may be construed as being restrictive and not conducive to growing India,” said Mark D Martin, Founder & CEO, Martin Consulting LLC.
Admitting that Business Aviation growth rate in India has not kept pace with the GDP growth and industrial growth, Dr. Renu Parmar, Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation invited BAOA to highlight the major concerns of the sector. "What are the issues, not the list but the main 2 or 3 issues that we need to address for business aviation?”
The New Civil Aviation Policy is a step in the right direction, which has touched upon every sector of aviation, but has clearly left out Business Aviation. This is due to the incorrect perception that the sector only benefits the affluent, who can afford the higher costs and thus can be ignored. It is not appreciated that both, Scheduled Airlines as well as Business Aviation, are integral parts of public air transportation in any nation. You cannot do without either one. Business Aviation’s immense contribution to India’s economic growth story remains grossly undervalued and unappreciated. Given the right impetus, the sector has the potential to create a revolution in regional connectivity and economic benefits for the country, the report concluded.
Business Aviation is about necessity and progress, not luxury
“The objective of the industry report was very clear in our minds. It should become a reference book that people would like to pull out & read, repeatedly, and act on it” says Jayant Nadkarni, President of BAOA. In an interview with Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Aviation, he outlines the objectives behind the recently released BAOA report on Business Aviation in India.
SP's Aviation (SP's): What is the overall objective of this solidly comprehensive BAOA report? What exactly is the role of the same?
Jayant Nadkarni (Nadkarni): For many years now, we had been seeing industry reports that were no doubt good, but we were not getting results for our industry. In parallel, given the backdrop of falling growth of BA in India, despite its huge potential that is so fashionable to talk off, we decided to act on it. And last year, the Governing Board of BAOA commissioned this comprehensive report. The guiding principles while working on the report were that it should be very readable and believable. It should explain our past and present, how we got here, without indulging in any blame games. It should take into account global best practices but without suggesting cut-copy-paste answers for India. The overarching impression of readers should be...yes, India should emulate these practices, do this or not do that. The objective of the industry report was very clear in our minds. It should become a reference book that people would like to pull out & read, repeatedly, and act on it. Only that would justify the role we set for this report.
Our report has a special case study on a live example in India of remote area industrialisation that’s been possible only due to easy access provided by business aviation.
SP's: Who all are likely to read this?
Nadkarni: We hope that a very wide selection of people would read the report from officials in the Ministry, DGCA, AAI, BCAS, State Governments, Industry personnel of course, and also potential buyers and owners of business aircraft would do well to read this report.
SP's: As you have mentioned, BA is still treated as the sector / industry preferred by affluent/ highly rich people. How do you plan to change this perception? In fact BA at times remain connected with Luxurious travel – yet another stigma attached to the industry. What are your plans?
Nadkarni: Our plans are already underway, as they have been from the time of our inception. They have only gathered more steam now. To tackle the specific perception issue you mentioned, we hope to educate the masses through media and conferences and off course industry reports like the one just released, that the popular notion of luxury associated with BA is wrong. This is not easy. It will take time. But it is a effort that we must go through with. Unfortunately without meaning to, in the past some OEMs may have contributed to this notion in the past by advertising “luxury" in their aircraft. There is no doubt that a business aircraft is a luxury symbol. But luxury is only half the story. In fact more business aircraft flying around the world, and indeed in India, are true workhorses that impart flexibility to their users that is just not possible from scheduled airlines. The extra time saved is put to productive use for the economy, in setting up factories, ushering in growth, creating jobs and prosperity. Our report has a special case study on a live example in India of remote area industrialisation that’s been possible only due to easy access provided by business aviation. To date, this hinterland district is not served by scheduled airlines, and yet it has seen progress on nearly every socio-economic parameter, be it number of hospital beds, industries, technical schools and colleges and many other measures. If this is not a benefit from BA to the common man, then what is? Is it right, for anyone to propagate that BA Is only about luxury? No, its also about necessity and progress. Not just the affluent benefit from BA. Everyone benefits. Many advanced countries have recognised this and harnessed the advantages from BA. So should India.
More business aircraft flying around the world, and indeed in India, are true workhorses that impart flexibility to their users that is just not possible from scheduled airlines.
SP's: NCAP did not have the mention of BA operators. What are the plans to get this set deterrence rectified?
Nadkarni: We had taken it up with the Government, who have been very responsive and open to hearing our point of view, and we are positive that BA will get its due over time.
SP's: The delivery time of aircraft to the operators / owners as well as the first take off of the aircraft involves some 6 months kind of quite a painfully long period as is conveyed at times by many of the stake holders, while these steps need not take more than a few days. How do you plan to get such discrepancies addressed by concerned authority?
Nadkarni: This is a problem that still needs to be addressed and we hope will improve with time and as our interactions increase.
We believe all of us are stakeholders together in the industry - from the Government, Regulators, Operators, and Aircraft Owners. It is transparency in rules and knee jerk reactions that need to be addressed.
SP's: How is the DGCA attitude these days versus the industry?
Nadkarni: Good. Encouraging. We believe all of us are stakeholders together in the industry - from the Government, Regulators, Operators, and Aircraft Owners. It is transparency in rules and knee jerk reactions that need to be addressed.
SP's: Have we been able to convey the concrete aspect and role of BA to the government departments that business aircraft are the business tools which continue enabling contributions to the economy of the country?
Nadkarni: Yes we have and I must say that sections of the Government is seized of the role of BA, although this message clearly needs to become more all pervasive across departments and ministries, and show in results. However signs are encouraging. We need to keep persevering.