Thursday, June 13, 2024

Business Jets Soar as Indians Choose the Private Jet Experience

By Chaitali Bag

The demand for private planes in India is growing at a rapid pace. Numerous organisations have been contemplating the purchase of business jets to meet their commercial aviation demands, because to the sector’s exponential expansion. The market for commercial aircraft also serves the secret missions that the government and intelligence organisations undertake.

In our recent conversation with Mr. Rajan Mehra CEO, Club One Air, he shared his insights on this industry.

  1. 1. In an effort to revitalize India’s civil aviation sector, the country’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has been working on a number of fronts over the past year. These fronts include modernizing airports and commercial airlines like Air India Indigo to better serve their passengers and the country as a whole. How does the Ministry intend to guide the private jet industry?

In my opinion, there are a lot of reasons why the aviation industry in India is experiencing some very thrilling times right now. The first, in my opinion, is that the travel industry has made a full recovery.  The commercial aviation sector and the business aviation sector are both thriving. It is common knowledge. The second shift is the way the government views aviation and business aviation specifically. The issue of perception has long persisted in the business aviation industry. The government has always seen it as a luxury item that only the famous and wealthy need. It has been disregarded for a very long time. It has been subject to heavy taxation since, in the eyes of the general public, it is a luxury good that does not require government handouts. Everything has changed. Our minister is an aviator, which makes him highly innovative and future-oriented. I have faith in his aeronautical knowledge. He gets that, as we’ve been saying for a long time, business aviation has the potential to spur economic expansion and employ a huge number of people.

  • 2. In your opinion, how do you think the public’s views on private jets and business aviation will shift in the future, and how will this affect the expansion of this industry?

People are just now starting to hear about business aviation. Plus, I believe COVID-19 has altered our lifestyles, altered the way we travel, and even our thoughts. Indeed, as you can see, business jets were the exclusive means of transportation during the Covid pandemic. They discovered that commercial flying couldn’t match to the level of safety and convenience offered by a business aircraft. Additionally, this was the sole means of transportation available to them at that period. People and their families almost exclusively prioritized safety after the COVID-19 pandemic. The second wave of Delta survivors nearly universally suffered the loss of a loved one. As a result, families grew closer. As a result, we discovered that many individuals who previously could have afforded business aviation trips would now take use of this service. This meant that business aviation gained a new set of loyal consumers. Private planes persisted in their usage despite the additional expense. Secondly, they came to the realization that the disparity, when compounded by business class and first class tickets, was not as significant when nine or ten persons were travelling, such as corporate executives or a family.

Of all things, private jets are pricey. People thought the difference would be exponential before this, but that turned out not to be the case. As a result, business aviation has flourished. More individuals are taking trips than ever before. The commercial aviation industry is, of course, thriving as well. Therefore, it is safe to assume that corporate aviation is not an exception. Business jets are among the new planes that are landing in India. More people are taking trips. It may be said that the boom has extended to business aviation as well after COVID-19.

  • 3. Aviation, airports, and the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) industry are all beneficiaries of government programmes meant to spur growth. Given your extensive experience in the business aviation sector, what are your hopes for the government’s support in advancing your industry?

Aviation, and especially business aviation, can be a vehicle for economic growth and job creation; this is something that this administration and the minister are well aware of. Hence, it is how they perceive things. Both commercial and business aviation are impacted by many of the adjustments or enhancements that have been made. See, the minister has persuaded a bunch of states around19 to lower their ATF taxes. The operational cost of airlines, whether they operate commercial jets or business jets, is nearly 40% to 50% fuel, or ATF, and ATF in India is among the most costly in the world. I would rank that as one of the administration’s greatest accomplishments since it allowed them to drastically reduce operating expenses all at once. The tax structures and charges associated with buying or leasing aeroplanes are thus being revisited. Finally, governments start to help the business out once people start to see things differently. At this very moment, it is taking place. Airports have shown little interest in tiny business aircraft thus far since they are not as hefty as commercial planes.

With only three, four, or five passengers, a small plane wouldn’t bring in much money. Their perspective is being shifted, though, by the government. Thousands of people may find work if two powerful business magnates took a private plane to the middle of a country and established a factory there. Airports will be constructed, and highways will be improved. The usage of a small business jet by the leadership was the root cause of all this. It seems like people are starting to see that business aviation can really make a difference. When businesses in smaller towns and areas either don’t go or don’t have adequate services, it might lead to a domino effect. Thus, the increased consciousness is facilitating the expansion of business aviation. You brought up the fact that the minister had said that many new airports were on the way. Now, I can see that several of these airports are located indoors. They reside in more modest cities. They are located in areas where commercial airlines are still wary, as I mentioned before. Therefore, business aviation will benefit from this new infrastructure in that area, as we will have priority access to it.

  • 4. Returning to 2019 levels, air traffic has exploded following COVID-19. We naturally assume that commercial planes are thriving because air traffic has increased. When it comes to business aircraft, what is the expected volume of traffic?

I would estimate a rate of 150% for business aircraft if the commercial aviation industry is claiming 99%. Simply put, we’ve recently attracted clients who had never used a business jet before. Some of our customers would rather fly in first or business class on commercial aircraft. Many are returning to business jets, but many have not yet returned to commercial aircraft due to the high cost.  Several locations, including Delhi, Bombay, and Ahmedabad, have general aviation lounges. These lounges are popular because, for example, in Delhi, passengers in business or first class still have to wait in long terminal lines, but in the general aviation lounge, the wait time is only five or seven minutes. Just as you walk through the gate, the plane appears before you. As a result, many see it as a clean and risk-free alternative. They avoid big gatherings. The risk of contracting an infection is quite low. So. Everything has contributed to the recent upsurge in business, and the obvious benefits of time and convenience have always been there. I would say that the safety perspective contributed to all of the factors that have led to this increase.

  • 5. When compared to commercial airlines, tiny planes and business jets always encounter different regulatory hurdles. Has it loosened up recently, or what do you think our government can do to assist the airlines with this regulatory problem?

When it comes to regulatory mandates, commercial aviation has quite different standards than business aviation. Right now. Our customer does not require visas or other form of assistance in that area. Many individuals involved in business travel have visas valid for ten to fifteen years, if not permanently. Our requirements and those of other nations have no bearing on the Indian regulator. Therefore, it is the simple part. The most of the help we need is for customs charges on arriving planes, the possibility of easily leased planes, and, as I mentioned before, fuel. The minister is already aware of this and is handling the request for the states to lower their VAT rates on ATF. So it appears that the regulators are cognizant of this.  Additionally, I believe that any government will always have a delayed process. My current impression is that the government and authorities are providing us with a level of support that was before unavailable.

“Club One Air” was founded by a group of innovative businesspeople in India and is now the biggest general aviation company in the country. Experts in the field of aviation oversee operations. A selection of their ten aircraft include the following models: Cessna Citation II, a Citation XL, an 8-seater twin-engine business jet, an 8-seater Citation C3, a Falcon 2000, a CRJ-100, and a Falcon 2000L, a 9, 10, and 12-seater twin-engine business jet. Modern avionics, multimedia amenities, and a pantry are all at the passenger’s disposal.

Airports in India tend to be smaller and less equipped, hence the Club One Air fleet is tailor-made for the country’s climate and airports. The goal is to connect all parts of India with a network of private planes. When it comes to safe and comfortable air travel options for corporate sector leaders, Club One Air is the largest operator in India, both in terms of jet air charters and non-schedule operators.

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