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Only 5% Indians travel by air: Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha

Publication - The Financial Express

Publish Date - 15 Mar 2018

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Source - Bureau

Word count - 388

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Edition - Online Web

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Language - English

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Even as the government looks to provide the much needed thrust to the aviation industry through schemes such as UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha said that only 5% out of 1.3 billion Indians travel by air. Speaking at an AIMA event, Jayant Sinha laid out ambitious plans of a five-fold increase in passenger trips to one billion per annum in 15-20 years time frame. “A target of billion passenger trips in the next 15 to 20 years is very realizable and is in fact a realistic target that we should be looking for,” the minister said.

Interestingly, the government is looking to tap into helicopters, sea planes and passenger drones too apart from flights. “We in India have the opportunity to be a leader in this. We are already working on drone regulations so we can set standards, develop different drone technologies,” Jayant Sinha said.

In his address the minister said that the government has made air travel affordable even to people wearing hawaai chappal, and India has the potential to go from auto rickshaws to air rickshaws. Notably, India’s first heli-taxi was launched in Bengaluru by Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd. The Heli taxi service reaches Kempegowda airport in flat 15 minutes from Bengaluru’s electronic city, a journey which would otherwise take at least two hours.

Jayant Sinha added that aid that a billion passenger trips would open tremendous opportunities for growth and investments in the aviation sector. The minister observed that the the total number of passenger trips has doubled from 100 million in 2017 to about 200 million in 2017. According to the minister, the total revenue of the airline industry is around Rs 2 lakh crore.

Further, the minister said that one billion passenger trips would imply investment of Rs 4 lakh crore. The industry currently employs about 2 lakh people directly and about 1.2 million people indirectly, the minister said adding that we will have over 6 million people employed in the coming years.

Buoyed by the success of the domestic regional air connectivity scheme, the Indian government making plans to extend the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme to international flights as well. Last week, civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said that if the state governments want to start flights to international destinations, the central government will provide a platform.