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Drones, helicopters to create 1 billion air trips in India soon: Sinha

Thursday 15th March, 2018

Article Details
Publication  Business Standard
Source  Subhayan Chakraborty
CCM  72.82
Edition  Hyderabad
Supplement   NA
MAV  65,538
Language  English
Page  12
Circulation  12,500

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Drones, helicopters to create 1 billion air trips in India soon: Sinha
SUBHAYAN CHAKRABORTY
New Delhi, March
Passenger drones, among other forms of flying machines, will play a large part in achieving the government's goal of a billion passenger air trips a year, minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha has said.
He said a billion passenger trips in the near future will come not only from present-day narrow-bodied and wide-bodied aircraft but from greater use of passenger drones, helicopters, turboprops and seaplanes. Sinha spoke on Wednesday at a conclave held by the All India Management Association.
The government seems to bg taking a cue from the growing buzz around personalised flights on passenger drones and global cab aggregator Uber announcing its 'Elevate' programme which envisions flying taxis. Test runs are expected to start by 2020 in the United States and Dubai.
However, the minister's comment comes when scores of scheduled flights on A320 aircraft have been cancelled by major aviation players IndiGo and GoAir over the past two days, after recurring instances of engine malfunction. Thousands of passengers have been stranded, with 50 flights cancelled by the two airlines across the country on Wednesday, slightly down from about 70 on Tuesday.
Aviation authorities have subsequently grounded such planes. "No other regulator has been following the neo engines as closely as we and we are the first ones globally to actually fully ground these," Sinha claimed.
Total passenger trips in India doubled from about 100 million in 2014 to
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The government seems to be taking a cue from the growing buzz around personalised flights on passenger drones and global cab aggregator Uber announcing its 'Elevate' programme which envisions flying taxis
200 million trips in 2017, Sinha noted. "Not many industries in India can legitimately claim they can increase volumes five-fold. But, in the airline industry, we can say with a high degree of confidence that we can do so over the next 15 or 20 years."
Only about five per cent of India's 1.3 billion-population uses airlines. Growth in volume terms is 16-18 per cent a year. In comparison, one of the largest aviation markets, the United States, has 900 million passenger trips
a year for a population of about 330 million. China, on the other hand, clocks around 500-600 million passenger trips with a growth of about 9-10 per cent.
Sinha said the aviation sector has achieved parity with its main competitor, the railways, on pricing, number of trips and revenue. "The total revenue of the Indian Railways is roughly about ^2 trillion. It's the same for the telecom industry as well," he said.