”We are moving from no ownership model to ownership, but it will be through leasing which means assets will still not be on our books. So, we will try and keep our books as light as possible,” Sandhu said. The company has been able to grow with internal accruals in the last three years of its operations, he added. Sandhu said, ”We also foresee a stable demand for two years. Coupled with the growth we saw in the past 18 months, we are in line to induct aircraft in about eight to 10 months from now. We’re trying to do it a little earlier.
But, typically, it takes that much of the time.” He added that the company is looking at raising funds to the tune of about Rs 5 crore because that will help it get one or two aircraft for lease to support its regular clients. ”So, we are talking to investors but these conversations take time. We have a robust balance sheet. But, that is the larger plan that we will have an aircraft in 6-10 months,” Sandhu said. He added that the company plans to induct a leased aircraft under this model in the 8-10 months period. ”When we conduct an aircraft, our target is to have 30-40 departures a month,” Sandhu said AirLuxxis is looking to have three aircraft in the fleet by March 2024, he said.
Currently, it does around 10-12 departures per month, according to Sandhu. There are good signs of growth in private or business aviation in the past 18 months. In 2018-19, when both commercial and business aviation was on a growth trajectory, the private aviation industry was doing about 200 flights per month, Sandhu said. He said commercial aviation was growing far ahead of private aviation. However, in the past 18 months, the growth in general aviation has gone up by 5x to 6x month-on-month, which has happened because commercial aviation went down, owing to lockdown and subsequent curbs on travel restrictions, he said.
”There was a push from the pandemic and this has been noticed worldwide. The growth in India, though less than the 40-60 per cent in Europe, has still been about 25-30 per cent in the period,” Sandhu said. He said that in the past few years, unlike the US, where both commercial and private aviation grew hand-in-hand, India was not seeing a similar growth due to some perception issues.
However, the pandemic has helped remove those misconceptions, he said. AirLuxxis provides curated and tailor-made services to its clients with light jets to aircraft as big as Boeing 737 or wide-body B777, he said adding that the company goes for leasing of planes for as short a duration as five days. Noting that the pre-pandemic normalcy is expected to return only after the WHO declares the world is safe, Sandhu said the private aviation may see this kind of growth for at least two more years before it goes for a more sustainable level. ”There will be a correction that might happen sometime after about two years if not now. But, it would not be huge, not to the extent that it will go back to the 2018 level. It may be nearly 5-7 per cent,” he said.