Home/ Politics / Policy/  ‘Lean season air travel has crossed pre-covid figures’

NEW DELHI :  In a traditionally lean period for travel, India’s air traffic is at 420,000-440,000 every day, said Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia at the CAPA India Aviation Summit on Monday. The civil aviation sector has witnessed an almost V-shaped recovery to surpass the pre-covid average of about 410,000 daily passengers, he added.

“A decade ago in 2013, India had only 14 million domestic passengers. It has grown to 144 million domestic passengers, which is a 10 times increase. The number of passengers in the last six years has doubled from 60 million to 140 million, at a compound annual growth rate of almost 14.5%. On international side it grew at a CAGR of 6.5%," Scindia said.

A rise in disposable income, increasing number of middle class households, and growing aspiration of people are resulting in an inclination towards air travel, he added.

As per the latest data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, domestic air traffic in India for February stood at 12.1 million, over 6% higher than the pre-covid period of February 2019.

While demand for air travel is soaring even in a lean travel season, India is still at about 4-5% penetration rate in terms of air travel, he said. Currently, India is the third largest market in the world, but it is 18th in terms of the international aviation market.

“India today has become an aspirational country. Aviation infrastructure must be put in place to support the $20 trillion economy within India by 2047," said Scindia.

India‘s aviation sector is also expected to reach a fleet size of 2,000 aircraft within 5-7 years from the current level of 700 jets, according to government estimates. However, supply chain issues have curtailed the capacity induction plans of airlines. This has forced the government to temporarily allow airlines to get planes on wet lease for a period extendable up to one year compared to the earlier six months.

To cater to the growing fleet size the civil aviation ministry has also hired 10 personnel for Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, and has decided to recruit 400 technical staff at DGCA, while the number of air traffic controllers was up from 2,900 to 3,600. The ministry is also hiring another 500 air traffic controllers by August to handle busy and remote metros, Scindia said.

“Now is the right time to consider manufacturing in aviation." he added.

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Updated: 20 Mar 2023, 11:35 PM IST
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