The aviation market of Bangladesh is growing rapidly and expected to expand at a faster rate in near future, generating interest from European aerospace giant Airbus.
"With the GDP growing at the rate that it is in Bangladesh -- at 5 or 6 percent -- this probably means about 10 to 12 percent in terms of traffic growth. Bangladesh is growing very quickly," said Sheel Shukla, senior sales director of Airbus Customer Affairs.
"It's great for the economy and for the people to travel out of Bangladesh to enjoy the region. And we've got a great set of products to do that," he said last month.
He was speaking to a group of Bangladeshi journalists visiting the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse of France, where the final assembly of most Airbus aircraft takes place.
During his presentation on the global aviation industry focusing on Bangladesh, Shukla said the country witnessed 99 percent growth in international traffic (passengers) over the last seven years.
In the recent years, the economy is growing at much faster rate and would grow at 5.4 percent on average in the next 20 years from 2017 to 2037, above the world average of 2.8 percent.
At this rate, the aviation industry of Bangladesh would double in 15 years -- at par with the global growth rate of the aviation industry, he said. “The global air traffic doubles in every 15 years, but it will double in Bangladesh much earlier if the GDP grows at much faster rate.”
Bangladesh's economy is likely to grow at 8.13 percent in 2018-19, up from 7.86 percent the previous year, according to the provisional figure from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
According to the presentation, more than 7.5 lakh passengers travelled in both directions between Bangladesh and India in 2010, which increased to 11.98 lakh in 2017.
On the other hand, the number of passengers travelling between Bangladesh and the Middle East rose to around 43.03 lakh in 2017 from 23.63 lakh in 2010.
There was also significant increase in the passengers travelling in both directions between Bangladesh and other countries: In 2010, the number of passengers was 24.17 lakh and it shot up to 55.44 lakh in 2017.
Around 30 percent of emerging country populations flew in 2017 and some 85 percent of the emerging country population, including Bangladesh, would fly in 2037.
Traffic to and from and within Bangladesh is forecasted to grow at 5.5 percent annually and 3.5 percent locally.
Giving a projection of future demands, Shukla said by 2037, the requirement of passenger aircraft to serve the country would be around 150, from 50 in 2017.
Of the 150, the demand for small carriers will be 82, up from 27 in 2017. The country will require 27 medium and 20 large aircraft in 2037 compared to nine and five respectively in 2017.
Shukla said Airbus has a great range of products. "We have the A321 long range and A330 Neo, which are super-efficient aircraft to fly around the region as well as fly long haul.” "We know many Bangladeshis live overseas. So, these are excellent complementary aircraft to fulfil this demand."
Asked how to develop the country's aviation industry for the growing market, Shukla said, "I think Bangladesh has to improve its infrastructure."
He lays emphasis on increasing the facilities in the airport. "I understand there is a master plan for new airports. This will help meet the growth requirements.”