Over 2,200 airplanes will be coming to India in the next 20 years and there is need to train 31,000 pilots, Boeing India President Salil Gupte has said.
In an interview with ANI, Gupte said India is a place like no other when the civil and defence market are taken together. “The number that I can give you right now is 2,200 plus airplanes over the next 20 years on civil that will be coming into India that drives a need for 31,000 pilots that will need to be trained and developed here in India to fly all those airplanes, and 26,000 plus mechanics that will be needed to maintain all those airplanes,” he said.
“We have the largest manufacturing footprint with our 300 plus suppliers here in India and we already do one billion dollar sourcing here. And then we have 5,000 employees here in India,” he added.
Gupte said the combination of these conditions allows the companies to address the defence opportunity as well.
“So, when you pull together the civil, market and the defence market, India is a place like no other,” he said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US next month, he hoped that there are talks about aviation
“We hope there are talks about aviation whenever PM (Narendra) Modi goes abroad and sees the top leaders of major countries… As we see those conversations at a high level occur in June between the PM and the President, we know our industry will be well represented,” he said.
Asked about issues relating to Go Air which has moved NCLT for insolvency, Gupte said it’s always sad to see an airline struggle.
“You feel not only for the airline but for the employees, stakeholders, the customers and everyone who does in and around the airline,” he said.
The Boeing India President said it’s not a “straight line progress” of a market.
“One of the things the Indian government can do is that there is legislation that is supporting the Cape Town Convention that provides clarity around how aircraft assets are handled,” he said, adding that this has been on the table in India for a couple of years.
Gupte said the company has worked towards making sure that there is right flight operations expertise in India.
“We have talked a lot during the few months about our commitments here — the logistics centre that we have announced and the customer support centre and our continued focus on growing training for pilots and mechanics but one of the things that we find important is making sure we have the right flight operations expertise right here in India, and the right maintenance technical expertise,” he said.
“We have always had the world’s greatest field service representatives located around the world and that has been Boeing legacy for decades but this is an additional layer of support above that to have this office populated with those experts, maintenance and flight ops to support airlines right here in region.
Many airlines have headquarters just around the corner from here (Gurgoan). This will provide quicker answers to them by having a team of thirty people of staff here in this office,” he added.
Gupte said Boeing keeps transparency about delivery timing for customers.
“Number one thing for us is transparency about delivery timing for our customers. We recognised that the entire world, not just aviation but many sectors have supply chain challenges we all have to work through,” he said.
“Transparency with the customers and suppliers, and bringing that together to come up with a schedule that we can all ensure helps the airline’s success… what we are focused on. As it relates to the overall growth of the market, the South Asian region, with India in it, is the fastest-growing market. It was before prior to Covid and it will resume being that post-Covid.”
He said the Indian defence market, as it moves to self-reliance, is going to land a lot of opportunities for companies like Boeing.