India is expected to see a total of 400 million air travellers in the next 7 to 10 years, Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Tuesday, August 23.
He also said there are tremendous growth opportunities for domestic airlines and they are expected to have a fleet of 1,200 planes in five years.
There were around 200 million air passengers, including domestic and international travellers, pre-pandemic and the number is expected to double to 400 million over the next 7 to 10 years, the minister said.
Speaking at a conference organised by industry body Assocham, Scindia said the country is projected to have a total of 220 airports, including heliports and aerodromes, by 2026. The country’s civil aviation sector is on the recovery path after being hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government and Civil Aviation minister has been very proactive in engaging with the sector, they have given us their time and have been aggressively espousing the requirements of the sector. We have been talking about this whole concept of taxes on fuel for the longest time and it is Minister Scindia who has reached out to the states and got many of them to reduce the VAT on fuel from 25-30% to 0-5%. The success of the Regional Connectivity Scheme, success of the Air India divestment too can be attributed to the minister.”Ajay Singh, Senior VP ASSOCHAM & CMD SpiceJet
Mr Scindia also mentioned that India’s aviation sector is expanding rapidly and the overall fleet size is expected to almost double in the next five years. “In five years, we are looking at 1,200 fleet size in the country which will be almost double the current number of 700 aircraft”.
Further, the minister stressed on India becoming an international hub for which the sector needs to add wide-body aircraft in our skies. Growth in the aviation sector in terms of CAGR is 10% annually, he added.
“We need wide-body aircraft in the country to become an international hub, that is why the ministry of civil aviation is working seriously on it and we have engaged with the professionals to make India an international hub in aviation,” Mr Scindia said.
“In 2013-14, we had 74 airports… we have added another 67 airports in the last eight years,” he said. “We will have 220 airports, including heliports and aerodromes by 2026.”
On the question of recruitment of air traffic controllers (ATCOs) which are now low in strength, Mr Scindia said that “we will recruit more than 300 ATCOs by the end of this year”.
The minister also termed “significant” the start of the new airline, Akasa, and the future launch of erstwhile Jet Airways.
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The civil aviation sector was significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and is on the recovery path. The day is not far when the civil aviation sector will become a very strong foundation and bulwark of the transportation industry in India.