In my view India is a market that will see 8-10 airlines in the next 5-7 years with the numbers going up to about 15 in about 12 years and 20+ by 2030.
Ok here's why:
. Indian population 1.25 billion. Of this the Indian middle class and higher is about 200 million
. Total domestic air travelers in India in 2009-10: 46 million or 0.03 trips per capita
. France/Germany/UK have 1-1.3 trips per capita for a combined population of approx. 200 million people
DD. In India of the 46 million domestic pax over 80% were repeat travelers meaning actual travelling people are far fewer - maybe about 5-10 million.
EE. The buying power and disposable income of the top 200 million of the Indian population is equal to the buying power of the total population of France/Germany/UK.
. So if these folk decide to all take advantage of air travel theoretically at the same rate as the three EU countries above, we are currently sitting on a potential market of 250-300 million passengers who'd fly if they had the opportunity.
Now's where Government apathy and idiocy claim prime time. For 60 years, we've had successive Governments who thought of 3 things to tax to death - cigarettes, liquor and air transport. For a country with so much potential, apart from lip service, Government has done absolutely nothing to promote or enhance Aviation business which has the potential to add 1.5-2% to India's GDP if properly nurtured.
Instead we have self centred businessmen, crooked parliamentarians all combining to ensure that we do not do anything creditable to prove ourselves on the aviation map.
Currently India has approx 450 fixed wing commercial aircraft, over 350 unused airports, only about 85 functional airports out of which 75% of traffic come from the top 7.
With potential like this, just 3 airlines to serve it? no I don't think so. There is a growing intolerance for bad governance and corruption. Like we saw the mobile phone revolution and the television channels revolution and the internet revolution in India - aviation is the next big thing waiting to happen here.
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai