By Staff Correspondent
India is set to see a major uplift in its civil aviation infrastructure, with 230-240 airports, heliports, and water aerodromes planned for completion by 2030, up from the current 148, according to the country’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia. The plans aim to accommodate a surge in demand, as the airline industry experienced passenger growth from 60 million in 2013-14 to 145 million in recent years.
The non-peak passenger numbers are also demonstrating a positive trend. A single-day record was broken this year with 460,000 passengers, even surpassing the pre-Covid peak of 420,000 passengers per day. Correspondingly, the size of the aircraft fleet has expanded from just under 400 in 2014 to approximately 700 presently, marking a 75% increase over nine years.
These changes illustrate the democratisation of aviation services in India, enabling more people to travel by air. Notably, the future will see an anticipated fleet size of 1,200-1,400 aircraft by 2030 and a three-fold increase in annual passenger traffic to nearly 420 million.
Scindia dismissed concerns of a duopoly in the industry, mentioning the rise of the new airline Akasa Air and regional airlines such as Star Air, FlyBig, and IndiaOne Air. He underscored that competition is dynamic and dependent on the service quality of different carriers.
The minister recognised the high airfare issue and attributed it to unprecedented demand and grounding of GoAir’s fleet. He assured that following a meeting with airlines, fares have now decreased by 25-30% on average and up to 65-70% in certain cases.
Regarding the growth of the air cargo industry, Scindia highlighted a rise from 2.27 million metric tonnes in 2013-14 to 3.11 million metric tonnes in 2019-20. This industry is expected to see a growth rate of 18-20% over the next four to five years.
When asked about the drone industry, Scindia expressed ambitions for India to become a global drone hub by 2030. A drone policy implemented in 2021, incentives through the Production Linked Incentive scheme, and increased usage of drones by government ministries are factors anticipated to contribute towards a Rs 5,000-crore industry that creates five to ten lakh jobs by 2023.