Civil aviation fleet in India has risen 75 per cent since 2013-14 to about 700 and is likely to rise towards 1500-2000 in the next half a decade, said Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia a day after Indigo announced the 500 aircraft mega deal with Airbus.
“Capability of the Indian civil aviation sector is immense,” Scindia said speaking to ANI and noted the latest orders by the Indian airlines are way more than the total fleet size of 2013. Further, speaking about a number of operational airports, heliports, and aerodromes, he said they doubled under this current government — 74 in 2014 to 148 in 2023 – and are projected to go up to 220 in the next 4-5 years.
“India should become a civil aviation hub,” he said, adding the government is working on it.
India’s aviation industry has experienced significant growth in the past nine years under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
The government argues this growth can be attributed to the government’s consistent efforts to improve overall airports and aviation infrastructure.
One such initiative is the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN), under which 469 routes connecting 74 airports have been made operational, providing affordable air travel options for millions of Indians.
The UDAN scheme has recently completed five years.
The scheme was initiated in October 2016 with the objective of fulfilling the aspirations of the citizens, with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities.
Meanwhile, Scindia also lashed out at opposition leaders who labelled allegations on the government that airfares in India were out of control.
In an apparent attack on Congress leader KC Venugopal and P Chidambaram, who recently raised questions on airfares, Scindia said “Those who want to do politics the public has shown them the mirror many times.”
The airline operator Go First had in early May filed for voluntary insolvency and since then its operations were kept stalled, which led to the hike in airfare on some routes. Scindia said earlier that a portion of the routes that were served by GoFirst, which is under stress now, have already been allotted to other airlines.
Congress leader KC Venugopal in a long tweet recently slammed Scindia, saying the current government has been incapable of curbing this price rise and preventing predatory behaviour on the part of airlines.
According to Michael Jain, CEO, of Belair Travel, “I definitely think this is a short-term phenomenon especially because of certain airlines not operating at the moment and certain demand and supply mismatch. Jain reiterated the recent rise in airfare was purely due to demand and supply mismatch.