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 said Friday that Indian airline operators are expected to add 110 to 120 new aircraft every year in the days to come. Jyotiraditya Scindia was 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.
Scindia exuded 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. It will surpass that number by 2024-25.
“India is looking at tremendous expansion. I mean expansion in the area of airlines, 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 had said Thursday that 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. It is 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,” asserted Scindia.
The number of international passengers which was close to 60 million in 2018-19 fell to almost 10 million after Covid-19 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.
The minister said as many as 66 airports, including water ports, have been developed during the last seven years. He said the government has taken the total number to 140 and the government plans to take the number to 220 in future.