He also defended the government’s move to lease out airports to private entities saying the profitability of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will increase due to this
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said the airline sector is on a revival mode with 3.82 lakh passengers travelling daily by airlines in the last seven days and hoped that the total passenger traffic would rise to 40 crore by 2023-24.
The number of air passengers was 14.50 crore in 2018-19. The traffic fell to 8.38 crore in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Replying to the Demands for Grants, 2022-23, for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Scindia further said Rs 1 lakh crore of investments would be made in green and brownfield airports in the country in the next 2-3 years by both AAI and the private sector.
The government has brought about a paradigm shift, a structural change in the sector in the last two years and will focus on inclusion, access and affordability to increase demand, the minister said.
“The democratisation of Civil Aviation has taken place in the last 7 years. Earlier, it was limited to only a few people,” he said, adding earlier only big cities had airports and 66 new airports were added during the Modi government’s term.
The total number of air passengers increased from 6.70 crore in 2013-14 to 14.50 crore in 2018-19. The number of planes too increased from 400 from 2013-14 to 710 by 2018-19.
According to the DGCA data, 8.38 crore people travelled on domestic flights in 2021, as compared to 6.3 crore in 2020 – the year which saw the outbreak of Covid.
Scindia said the aviation sector started to look up post the second Covid wave and the number of air travellers in the country increased to 3.90 lakh per day in November 2021, compared to 4.15 lakh per day in pre-Covid times.
“But, due to Omicron, it came down 1.60 lakh per day. I am happy to report that in the last seven days we are again back to 3.82 lakh per day. There is a hope of a revival and based on that we expect that by 2023-24 we will take the number of air passengers to 40 crore,” he said.
Till 2014, there were 74 airports in the country and in the last 7 years, 66 new airports were added. The total number of airports in the country now stands at 140, which we resolve to take to 220 by 2025, Scindia said.
He said the Civil Aviation sector has an economic multiplier effect of 3.1 times and is a key element of India’s economy with massive employment generation opportunities.
Scindia said over 90 flights were operated to evacuate Indian students from Ukraine amid the Russia-Ukraine war. Of this, Indigo operated 35 flights, Air India 14, Go First 6, Air Asia 3, Spicejet and Air India Express 9 each for transporting Indians back home under ‘Operation Ganga’.
The minister also said that 15 per cent of pilots in India are women, as against the global average of 5 per cent. “This is a great example of women empowerment,” he said.
He said that at a time when the airline industry world over is facing turbulence, two new airlines, Jet and Akasa, will soon launch their services.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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