A growing economy, rising revenues of domestic companies, an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals, poor connectivity to smaller towns in the hinterland and the need to save time and increase productivity are likely to drive the growth in the segment, says a report by global consultancy firm PwC, commissioned by the industry body Ficci.
"The domestic general aviation market is on the threshold of catapulting itself into the global arena. It is expected to grow at 10 per cent per annum to cross $4.5 billion by FY17. It is estimated that around 120 business jets, 150 small aircraft and 180 helicopters will be added by FY17," it said.
In 2012, the country became the second-largest business jet market in the Asia-Pacific region, after China's 220, with a fleet of 165 (up from 26 in 2005).
Despite this, the report notes that the domestic general aviation market is small and under-developed compared to its global peers, with a meagre 15 per cent of the total aircraft movement.
Compared to the US, which has the largest number of general aviation planes at around 2,55,000 operating from across 5,110 airports, India has only around 150 active airports and around 700 such planes.
"However, India is an emerging market for private jets with the rising economic growth, expanding business interests and increasing number of billionaires," the report says.
Quoting report of a working group on civil aviation, PwC states that over $40 billion investment is expected to be made in the general aviation during the 12th Plan.
In anticipation of the growing opportunities in the general aviation segment, small aircraft-makers like Cessna, Gulfstream and Bombardier are either setting up offices in the country or expanding their existing businesses, the report concludes.