Boeing: A Growing India Will Need 1,320 Planes

The aerospace manufacturer says Indian airlines will need to spend more than $150 million in passenger jets over the next 20 years to meet booming demand.

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Boeing has forecast a $150 billion market for passenger airplanes in India over the next 20 years driven by a booming economy.

Indian airlines will need to buy around 1,320 new airplanes to meet the demand of an expanding aviation sector, Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar said in a statement Wednesday.

"Robust growth with new economic prosperity among a massive Indian population, discretionary incomes, business progress and access to airports will increase airplane demand," Keskar said.

India's burgeoning middle class has switched from traveling by train to flying as an increasing number of private domestic airlines have opened up over the last decade.

Keskar said Indian carriers were becoming profitable and with the economy expected to maintain its upward trend, both air travel and air cargo markets would grow.

This year's outlook is more optimistic than last year's market outlook which had predicted that India would require 1,150 new aircraft worth $130 billion over the next two decades.

Apart from the private airlines, others including state-owned Air India are looking for replacement airplanes as they retire aging and less-efficient jets.

At present one in 200 Indians flies just once a year. That figured is expected to grow exponentially, with the domestic market recording the highest growth rate for aviation globally, according to aviation experts.

In January, budget airline Indigo signed a mega $15.6 billion deal for 180 A320 aircraft from Airbus Industrie, an order the European aircraft manufacturer hailed as the biggest single order in terms of the number of jets in aviation history. Airbus plans to deliver the jets between 2016 and 2025.

Apart from passenger aircraft, India is also shopping for military planes.

In June, India signed an agreement to purchase 10 Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III cargo and troop-carrying planes, making India the biggest foreign buyer of the aircraft.

The planes are expected to be delivered to India's air force in 2013 and 2014.

More in Global