By Staff Correspondent
In a remarkable show of resilience and sustained growth, India’s civil aviation sector has catapulted to become the third-largest domestic market globally, trailing only behind China and the U.S. Since 2014, the number of domestic passengers has doubled, underscoring the country’s burgeoning demand for air travel.
August 2023 alone witnessed a staggering 23.13% monthly growth rate in domestic aviation, with passenger traffic escalating to 148.27 lakh. The sector, emerging from the shadows of the global pandemic, has shown commendable recovery, with data from January to August 2023 revealing a 38.27% increase in passengers carried by domestic airlines compared to the previous year, reaching 1,190.62 lakh. Notably, the overall cancellation rate stood at a mere 0.65%.
Scheduled domestic airlines in August 2023 received 288 passenger-related complaints, resulting in a low complaint rate of 0.23 per 10,000 passengers. This statistic is a testament to the industry’s commitment to customer satisfaction offering reliable and efficient services. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia commended the sector’s growth, attributing it to the collective efforts of airlines, airports, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Since 2014, the number of domestic passengers has surged from 60 million to approximately 145 million, with international air passengers also experiencing a substantial increase from 23 million to over 35 million. The “UDAN Scheme” has played a pivotal role in democratising civil aviation in India, introducing air travel to new fliers, particularly in smaller towns, and creating extensive employment and business opportunities.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary since the launch of its first flight on 27 April 2017, the UDAN Scheme has entered its fifth round, aiming to enhance connectivity in remote and regional areas and achieve last-mile connectivity. From 74 operational airports in 2014, the number has doubled to 141, with 68 underserved destinations added under the scheme. So far, over one crore passengers have benefited from UDAN.
Intending to connect unconnected destinations in India, UDAN aims to establish 1000 routes to 220 destinations by 2026. To date, 954 routes have been allocated, connecting 156 airports. The success of UDAN underscores the Modi government’s commitment to ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’, playing a crucial role in transforming the aviation industry. The government anticipates welcoming 40 crore passengers through civil aviation in 3-4 years.
UDAN 5.0 introduces more attractive features, focusing on Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (less than 80 seats), removing the 600 km length limit from the first phase. This innovation brings civil aviation closer to becoming a stronghold of transportation in India, alongside rail and road transport.