Govt hopeful of 400 million air travellers by 2030

Passengers at Delhi Airport

Photo credit Twitter Delhi Airport

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By Sanjay Singh

New Delhi, August 25: While airfares are flying high with rocket speed, with the people shrugging off Covid-19 restrictions, India’s Civil Aviation Ministry is hopeful to double its air travellers to 400 million annual by 2030 from the current levels.

The government’s confidence is also on the basis of the private airlines bracing up to beef up their fleets for domestic and international routes.

Ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who passed away a few days ago, brought new vigour to the private airlines business bylaunching the Akasa airlines. The Tata-owned Air India is also adding fleets to its domestic and international routes to cater to the ever increasing passengers.

According to Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, India has tremendous growth opportunities in domestic aviation sector.

“India witnessed around 140 million annual domestic and 60 million annual international passengers before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, and with the growth, we should be able to double our passenger traffic in the coming seven to 10 years,” the civil aviation minister said, while delivering a keynote address at the CEOs’ Roundtable discussion on the Roadmap for Robust Growth Over Next Decade here recently.

The CEOs of India’s civil aviation industry participated in this day-long discussion, where the industry representatives also shared their views and concerns, besides highlighting solutions to challenges facing the civil aviation sector.

India had 400 aircraft in 2013-14, and currently has 700 aircraft, while the country is witnessing addition of aircrafts at 15 per cent rate every year. With this, it is expected to have over 1,000 aircraft by Indian domestic carriers in the next five years.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation regulator, DGCA, has directed all domestic carriers to strictly enforce Covid-19 protocol, including mandatory wearing of masks by passengers, in aircraft and around the airport premises, as number of cases are on the rise in India.

India logged 10,725 fresh COVID-19 cases, and reported 36 Covid deaths in past 24 Hours, according to an official data updated today by the Union Ministry of Health. India logged 10,725 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of cases to 4,43,78,920, while the active cases have declined to 94,047.

The government is hopeful that with the inauguration of a number of new airports such as Deoghar in Jharkhand, the air travellers will only grow. But it’s also being seen that there is no moderation in the flight ticket prices despite the seat restrictions having been lifted by the government, which had previously been enforced on account of the pandemic.

(Sanjay Singh has been reporting on Civil Aviation for over 20 years. He has previously worked for the India Today Group, The New Indian Express, The Statesman)

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