Pune: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley underlined the high growth being witnessed by the aviation sector in India. Citing that the domestic passenger growth in December 2017 was 18 per cent, he informed that orders for 900 aircraft have been placed from India. The Finance Minister said that 56 unserved/underserved airports and 31 helipads are being added to the country’s air network under the government’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
Out of these new airports, flight operations have already started from 16 airports. Jaitley further informed that 124 airports are being managed by Airports Authority of India presently in the country, and it has proposed to increase the present airport capacity in India by 5 times, to 1 billion trips a year.
The air traffic is expected to grow further, with the government deciding to develop the tourist destinations IN the country, out of which ten prominent destinations will be developed as iconic tourist destinations. Another important announcement for aviation sector by the Finance Minister was to encourage investments in seaplanes for tourism and emergency medical services.
“Encouraging investments in seaplanes is a futuristic step by the government. It will be a matter of time before commercial seaplane flights under RCS commence in India, once the policy and regulations for same are formulated by the Civil Aviation and Shipping ministries. With such amphibious operations, the number of landing sites across India’s 7,500 km coastline, on ground and on water bodies, will increase in thousands, and the government needs to act in advance to reinforce the airspace management, to make it safe and secure for the anticipated quantum growth in air traffic, especially in the hinterlands,” said Dhairyashil Vandekar, Aviation Expert and Analyst.
“The announcement by the government to liberalise agriculture exports to tap it to its full potential is also encouraging for Pune, which is the hub of the agricultural belt of Western Maharashtra. The present agricultural exports are said to be around USD 30 billion, as against the potential of USD 100 billion. Pune Airport has a major role to play as a facilitator to contribute to this government's objective for Agri exports by air. AAI must ensure that all the required support infrastructure like warehouses for storage, cold storage facilities, etc, for such agri exports are made available at the earliest to the exporters. AAI also needs to make efforts to increase the number of international destinations out of Pune airport, which will also assist in this cause,” he said.