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Hyderabad: Daily domestic air passenger traffic will exceed the pre-covid figure of 4.2 lakh passengers within the next one year, driven by v-shaped recovery, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Friday.

The passenger traffic, which fell below 2 lakh per day during the peak of the third wave of the pandemic, has currently recovered to 3.83 lakh passengers due to the revival of demand.

Speaking at the biennial Wings India 2022 event, Scindia said that the passenger throughput in India (for both domestic and international) will reach 410 million by 2024-25 from 300 million passengers in 2022-23.

Passenger throughput means the number of passengers forecast to pass through the airport in any given year.

"India is looking at tremendous expansion. Therefore fleet augmentation is important," Scindia said.

He added that Indian airlines, whose fleet currently stands at about 710 aircraft, will add 110-120 aircraft a year.

However, Scindia said that Indian airlines will need to increase their widebody fleet to connect the world to the South Asian nation.

At present, only two Indian airlines, Air India and Vistara, have wide-body aircraft and operate long-haul commercial flights to Europe, and North America.

With scheduled international flights set to resume from 27 March, after nearly two years of suspension, international passenger traffic to and from India is expected to surge in the coming months.

International travel, at about 60 million passengers in 2019, saw a steep decline during the pandemic, when only overseas flights under air bubble agreements were allowed to operate.

As a result, international passengers fell to 10 million during the pandemic during 2020-2021.

"Civil aviation has an extremely important role to play (going ahead). It is an industry integral to India's development," Scindia said.

"The fact is that we have an economic multiplier of 3.1 in civil aviation. For every dollar invested in civil aviation, it yields an output of $3.1. Meanwhile, every direct employment in civil aviation creates 6.1 indirect jobs," he added.

Scindia also said that the government is in the process of sanctioning 15 flight training organisations (FTOs) in the coming days.

"Air penetration is close to only around 8%. In a country of 135 crore, only 14.5 crore travel by civil aviation," Scindia said adding that growth opportunities are however huge.

"Today's civil aviation is going to be tomorrow's railways in terms of transport in the country," he added.

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