India is the world’s third largest market in domestic aviation when it comes to the number of tickets sold, according to the recent economic survey report. In 2017 from April-September, domestic airlines carried 57.50 million passengers, showing a growth rate of 16 per cent over the corresponding previous year period, with 10.30 percent domestic cargo handled, the survey said.
In the year 2016-17, the annual growth in domestic passenger departures was 23.5 per cent as compared to 3.3 per cent in the United States and 10.7 per cent in China, according to the survey.
“The Government is taking initiatives like liberalization of air services, airport development and regional connectivity through scheme like Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN),” the survey said. The UDAN scheme aims to provide air connectivity in smaller towns and cities of India.
Approval for setting up 18 Greenfield airports has been given by the government, the survey said. The places include Mopa in Goa; Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra; Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hasan and Shimoga in Karnataka; Kannur in Kerala; Durgapur in West Bengal; Dabra in Madhya Pradesh; Pakyong in Sikkim; and Karaikal in Puducherry, among others.
Site clearance for five Greenfield airports has also been granted by the government. These airports are Machiwara in Punjab, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Alwar in Rajasthan and Kothagudem in Telangana.
“Provision of Rs 4,500 crore for revival of 50 unserved and under-served airports/ air strips has been taken up with budgetary support of government to be completed by December 2018,” said the survey.
India’s domestic aviation market is currently the third largest in the world, and in a few decades the total aviation market of the country will reach that rank, a survey by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had showed. India will surpass the United Kingdom, which is at the fifth position, by 2025 and in the next 10 years, it will be the third largest aviation market in the world.
The air route between the Mumbai and Delhi is the third busiest domestic route in the world, with an average on-time performance of 59.14 per cent and a total of 47,462 flights operating between the two cities, a survey conducted by a global provider of digital flight information revealed in January this year.
In order to make the Indian aviation sector more competitive, the government announced last month that it is planning to split Air India into four separate companies and sell at least 51 per cent in each of them as part of its disinvestment plan.