Davos: India’s top aviation official said on 24 January that the country was aiming for a massive growth in its aviation sector, including the construction of hundreds of new airports.
Praful Patel, minister of state for civil aviation, said annual growth in numbers of domestic passengers was currently at 40% and over the next five years expected an average of 25% growth per year.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Patel said that Indian carriers were also expected to increase their fleet of aircraft from the current 400 to about 2,500 by 2020, and that during that time the number of airports would increase from today’s 80 to about 500.
He said the growth in the aviation sector would join information technology as the key driver of economic growth currently running at 8-9% a year, and would also carry benefits for the global economy.
“Airports are not being built in the US and Europe , they will be built in China and India,” he said.
Much of the coming investment in new aircraft, which he estimated at US$2.5 billion, would go to western firms like Airbus and Boeing.
Asked whether such massive increases in travel would not create further pressures on the price of oil, he echoed other Indian officials at the conference saying: “Why should we not have what you have.”