The progress made by the civil aviation industry in India in the past few years is a crowning jewel in the list of achievements of the Narendra Modi led NDA government at the Centre. The Civil Aviation Policy implemented by the government in 2016 was expected to give a major boost to the airline industry in the country and it has started yielding positive results.
“The Indian Civil Aviation sector contributed 15 billion US dollars to GDP in 2017-18 and has been amongst the fastest growing aviation sectors in the world. The catalytic impact of tourism added another 1% to GDP. Last year, India saw a surging demand in air travel with domestic passenger traffic registering a growth of 18.7%, much ahead of the growth experienced by China which is currently the second largest aviation market in the world,” said R.N. Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.
As per government figures, the industry has registered a booming growth in the past 4 years. Total passenger trips have increased to 18 crores from 10, the number of aircraft with scheduled operations have increased from 395 at the end of Fiscal Year 2014 to 587 by the end of FY 2018 which is projected to increase to 1500 aircraft in the next 5 years. The number of airports have crossed the 100 mark as well from 75 in FY 14.
The government has pursued various initiatives to achieve its objective. One of the better-known ones is UDAN, a regional connectivity scheme. Under UDAN, 30 new airports have been added transforming connectivity in Tier 3 and 4 towns. In addition, system capacity in all areas is sought to be increased under various schemes over 1 lakh crore rupees of investments are lined up for airports in the next 5 years.
“Under the Government, if India’s NABH (Next-Gen Airports for Bharat) Nirman initiative, there is a paradigm shift in the way new state-of-the-art airport terminals are being designed, financed and operated. A Design Council has been established comprising reputed architects, artists and interior designers in order to have aesthetically pleasing exteriors and interiors of the new terminals reflecting local culture, milieu and regional heritage while providing modern facilities and convenience,” said Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation.
Minister of Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, stated, “Airport infrastructure is rising to meet the challenges at every turn. As of 2013, only 76 airports were schedules for operations by air carriers. The year 2018 marks the operationalization of 100 airports. Propelled by the need for regional connectivity, we have so far awarded UDAN route contracts connecting 56 unserved and 17 underserved airports along with 31 helicopter destinations. 90 routes have already been operationalized.”