Hyderabad: Expressing optimism about the civil aviation sector bouncing back following a difficult phase due to COVID-19 pandemic, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday said Indian airline operators are expected to add 110 to 120 new aircraft every year in the days to come.
Speaking at the inaugural session of Wings India 2022, a civil aviation show being held here, Scindia also said the airline operators need to include more wide-bodied aircraft to their fleet in order to connect several global points.
Exuding confidence that the air traffic figures will rebound, the minister said the number of domestic passengers is expected to touch 4.10 million per day by next year and will surpass that number by 2024-25.
“India is looking at tremendous expansion. Expansion in the area of airlines, expansion in the area of airports. And therefore, fleet augmentation is also important. A country that had a fleet of only 400 aircraft in the year 2013-14 has grown to a fleet of 710 aircraft in the last seven years, an addition of almost 310 aircraft. And we intend to add at least 110 to 220 aircraft per year as we go forward,” Scindia said.
A senior official of Airbus on Thursday said the European aircraft maker expects that India will need over 2,200 aeroplanes in the next two decades.
According to him, currently India has about 9,000 pilots and out of whom 15 per cent are women, way ahead of the global benchmark of five per cent.
On airlines’ traffic figures, Scindia said domestic air traffic which was at 3.9 million passengers per day fell to 1.16 million during the third wave under the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
However, the numbers bounced back to 3.83 million as of now close to the pre-COVID number of 4.1 million passengers per day.
And I am very confident that within the next year, we will surpass the number of pre-COVID of 4.1 million passengers and create a new historic record in India, he said.
The number of international passengers which was close to 60 million in 2018-19 fell to almost 10 million after COVID restrictions. The minister hoped that as the restrictions are being lifted from March 27, the country will be reconnected to the rest of the world through normal flights.
He hoped that by 2024-25 India will witness 410 million flying passengers.
The minister said as many as 66 airports, including water ports, have been developed during the last seven years and the government has taken the total number to 140 and the government plans to take the number to 220 in future.
Scindia said there are 34 flying flight-training organisations in India and the government intends to increase their number.
He said usage of drones is one area with potential to make the country a global leader.
The minister said every single dollar invested in the aviation industry will triple and every direct job will create 6.1 indirect jobs.
During the session, the minister also launched “Small Aircraft Sub-Scheme” aimed at facilitating and stimulating regional air connectivity by creating a growth-oriented framework with a specific focus on operations through small aircraft including seaplanes, an official release said.
The scheme intends to facilitate creation of an ecosystem for small aircraft operations in the country by providing the framework for bringing together relevant stakeholders such as states, airlines, airport operators and policy makers to collaborate towards the success of this initiative.