Boeing to Raise India Plane Demand Forecast Amid Surge in Travel

Boeing Co. is set to raise its India market forecast as the planemaker expects surging travel demand in the world’s second-most populous nation to withstand a slowdown in economic growth and a fall in rupee.

Boeing will increase its prediction for India plane demand in the next couple of months, Dinesh Keskar, a senior vice president at the Chicago-based company, said in an interview to Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Singapore today.

The planemaker in 2012 raised its 20-year India market forecast by 9.8 percent, at least the third increase in a row. Carriers in the Asian nation will need 1,450 new aircraft, worth $175 billion over the next two decades, it said last year.

India’s economy has slowed since that forecast and the rupee depreciated. Gross domestic product will rise 4.9 percent in the 12 months through March 31, compared with the decade-low 4.5 percent in the previous fiscal year, the Statistics Ministry said in New Delhi last week.

The economy had expanded an average 8 percent in the five years to March 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupee is down about 15 percent versus the dollar in the past year.

Demand from India and China and global growth of low-fare carriers will spur a market for $4.4 trillion worth of commercial planes in the next two decades, according to Boeing’s rival Airbus Group NV. The number of air passengers in India is forecast to triple to 452 million by 2020, according to a report by CAPA Centre for Aviation and SITA.

IndiGo, Jet

India’s local airline passengers may reach 107.2 million by 2016, making it the world’s fourth-largest domestic market, the International Air Transport Association predicts, as new budget carriers such as IndiGo enable more people to fly.

Jet Airways (India) Ltd., the nation’s second-largest airline by market share, may place an order for 50 Boeing aircraft worth $2.5 billion, Bloomberg TV India reported last month, citing people it didn’t identify. Keskar today said a deal with Jet is to be “definitely seen” this year.

Jet, India’s biggest publicly traded carrier, may order the 737 single-aisle plane, which will be used for local expansion, Bloomberg TV said in its report.

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