India will become world's largest civil aviation market within a decade: Jyotiraditya Scindia

The minister said occupancy levels in flights have shot up to 90 to 95% presently compared to 80% pre-Covid

Published: 28th March 2023 04:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2023 04:42 PM   |  A+A-

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia speaking at the conference in Bengaluru (Photo | Express)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said that India is set to become the world's largest civil aviation market within a decade.

Speaking at the International Conference on Advanced and Short Haul Air Mobility for All (ASHA) in Bengaluru, Scindia said, "In the next 4 to 5 years, civil aviation is going to become the bulwark of transportation in India. Advanced air mobility must have its foundation on the basis of a strong civil aviation network and India will become the largest market for aviation within the next decade."

Elaborating on the giant strides made by the civil aviation sector, Scindia said, “We are today the world’s third largest domestic market with 144 million travellers. Combining domestic and international, we have the world’s seventh largest market at 200 million travellers,” he said. "However, with a population of 1.3 billion, we are still talking of penetration rates of only 4 to 5%. There is unimaginable potential for it in India," he added.  

The minister said occupancy levels in flights have shot up to 90 to 95% presently compared to 80% pre-Covid. "Earlier, we had aircraft but no passengers. Today we have a bevy of passengers but a shortage of aircraft. We need more aircraft and need it more quickly because India has an insatiable desire to travel by air today," he said.

Stating that India has experienced "a V-shaped recovery" post-Covid, the minister said, "Pre-Covid our high was 4,10,000 passengers per day. We are now coming off the high season (October till January) and have attained a new high of 4,55,000 travelling per day, a 10% increase over the pre-Covid high season (October-November 2019). It is not a blip."  

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India had built 74 airports during its last 65 years of existence. "In the last nine years under the stewardship of the PM, we have built an additional 74 airports, waterdromes and heliports doubling our number from 74 to 148. This is only the beginning of the journey. In the next 4 to 5 years, we will take the number to 200 to 220 airports, waterdromes and heliports," he said.

In a period of transition in world aviation history, India was forging ahead in areas that are just seedlings on the world aviation market due to its engineering capability, human resource capability and large mobility, he added.

Drone industry to be worth Rs 3 lakh crore in 2030

To make India the World Drone Global Hub by 2030 as envisioned by the PM, drone rules have been completely recast. "Earlier, we had to take 72 permissions to be able to set up a drone company and fly drones. That has been reduced to a paltry five permissions," he said. A Rs 120-crore Performance Linked Incentive Scheme has made the industry grow manifold over the last 12 months. "In 2020, it was a Rs 3,000 crore industry. In the next five years, we are looking at it increasing to close to a Rs 77,000 crore industry. In 2030, it will become a Rs 3 lakh crore industry providing employment to almost 3 to 4 lakh people in the country. That is the potential of the drone sector," he said.

11.5 million flew due to UDAN

The Regional Connectivity Scheme, Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), through its viability subsidized network has made the common man fly. "In the last six years after this programme was started in 2016, we have built 74 new airports, waterdromes and heliports, transported 11.5 million people who could never dream of flying before, with 220,000 flights. Eleven airlines are part of the scheme and there are three new regional air transport companies," he said, adding that airports were being set up in remote places.   

Special emphasis has been given to promote helicopter travel, he said. "It is astonishing that a country the size of Inda has a fleet of only 280 helicopters. Countries like Brazil and the US have around 4,000 helicopters. Along with it, Helicopter Emergency Medical Service has been started. “We have commitment from the Road Transport Ministry that all Expressways in future will have helipads built along the way which can also serve as Vertiports for ASHA in the days to come."

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