In an exclusive conversation, NewsX interviewed Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president, sales, Asia Pacific and India. Speaking to NewsX, Dinesh Keskar talked about the fast-growing aviation market and India’s appetite in the domestic aviation market. He also shared the fact that Boeing has majorly contributed to ‘Make in India’ project. Not only this but Keskar also shared the hurdles India’s aviation market is facing low availability of skilled manpower and poor infrastructure. Take a look at some of the key issues on which Dinesh Keskar shared his view about the Indian aviation industry.
NewsX: How do you view the appetite for aviation market in India is?
Dinesh Keskar: Today, the Indian aviation market is going the fastest in the world compared to anywhere, we now have demand here for the next 20 years for 2,100 airplanes worth 290 billion dollars. The market growth has been about 20% for the last few years, we think it will continue to be like that for at least another 4-5 years and today the inaugural of Wings India 2018, the secretary mentioned that he is even more bullish then that which we think as infrastructure issues are dealt with and new schemes will take place, the dream will come true.
NewsX: We are looking at numbers and a lot of other firms which projected a lot of fastest growing numbers for the Indian aviation market, specifically domestic aviation. As a person who has spent a considerable amount of time in the aviation industry, what do you think are the hurdles right now the aviation market is facing?
Dinesh Keskar: I think at the higher level, the number one issue is — can the infrastructure go as fast it should to make these numbers. You heard it today that India has an order over 600 more airplanes, 400 plus airplanes are flying today. Clearly, the old infrastructure is in not good enough for them. I am glad to know that new Mumbai airport has been commisioned … have extended runways. The T3 has been built. The new airport in Hyderabad has been functional for a while.
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The second thing which is important for the market to grow properly is the availability of skilled manpower and in that particularly, the pilots and engineer and that is an area where I think more work needs to be done. Then there are issues that nobody controls such as — what is the exchange rate between dollar and rupee. In the Domestic market you pay in rupees, but the cost of leasing airplane, spare parts, sometimes foreign pilots, its all done in US dollars, so rupee becomes weak, it becomes tougher for the airlines. Another factor which aviation airlines don’t control is the oil price. We have seen oil price go up as high as far as $150 per barrel, we came down to as low as $35, and now we are having it in 60s, so its still in the comfortable period, we are not concerned, I think for the next few years, it will stay around 60-70, so with that happening, we are ok and all signs are now indicating that future will be great and aviation industry will continue to grow.
NewsX: Do you see the potential in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing to make this a manufacturing hub, when it comes to aviation, do you see that happening in the near future?
Dinesh Keskar: I think our estimate is in about a decade, India will be the third largest aviation market in the world which is still very good right because US and China will always be bigger than India but number 3 is not bad. We are overtaking economies like France, Germany and other places right. So I think, yes it will happen. In terms of the manufacturing hub, I think a lot needs to be done and a lot will have to be done and the reason for that is clearly you have to invest a lot of money … and if we invest in the manufacturing process, manufacturing entity, manufacturing skill development, clearly India will get there. A country like Japan, which has lot of these things took 25 years before they really become a major supplier, so that’s what it is. India has great potential, we are bullish on the future aviation market and we are clearly, clearly see India going forward.
For the full interview, please watch the video