NEW DELHI: If the current trend in the Indian aviation market continues for the next two decades, air passenger traffic will grow sixfold to around 1.1 billion, according to a report released by Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday. This comprises about 821 million domestic and 303 million international passengers (to and fro).
Total passenger traffic (to, from and within India), grew by around 15 per cent YoY during April-November 2018. India is now the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers (to, from and within India) in FY18 and is expected to become the third largest by 2022.
The report, Vision 2040 for the Civil Aviation Industry in India comes at a time when the domestic aviation industry is bleeding with losses, with two leading airlines — Jet Airways and Air India — struggling to remain operational. Indian airline industry is expected to report a loss of about $1-1.5 billion in FY2019.
While steady economic growth, domestic open skies and industry-friendly policies are termed as major drivers of traffic growth, it will be the immense untapped potential that will provide a big boost to the industry. “A nation of nearly 1.35 billion people, with a middle class of over 350 million (and growing) should be flying, at conservative estimates, over 700 million passengers per annum. The FY18 figure of 187 million passengers is a small fraction of that,” the report said, adding that change is happening now with successive governments realising the catalytic effect of the aviation sector on the local economy, infrastructure, tourism and employment creation.
To cater to such a large number of passengers, India will also see a significant rise in the fleet size of operators.
India has one of the largest aircraft order books currently with pending deliveries of over 1,000 aircraft. Its commercial airline fleet is likely to grow from 622 in March 2018 to around 2,359 in March 2040.
By that time, India may have around 190-200 operational airports and its top 31 cities may have two airports and the cities of Delhi and Mumbai three each. At present, 101 airports are operational. However, air traffic in India is still concentrated in top 15 airports with around 83 per cent of total throughput.
Meanwhile, the government on Tuesday unveiled its much-awaited national air cargo policy, which seeks to make India among the top five air freight markets by 2025, besides creating air transport shipment hubs at all major airports over the next six years.