Pune: Following the civil aviation sector witnessing 'considerable progress', India has become the world's third-largest domestic aviation market in terms of the number of tickets sold, according to the Economic Survey, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
To connect unserved and under-served airports, the government has come out with the regional connectivity scheme, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) and flights on many routes have commenced under this initiative.
City-based aviation experts expect that the government would give more funds to speed up the airport infrastructure development. According to them, developed airports are required in all states.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, an aviation expert and analyst, said, “Aviation continues to be a sunrise sector in India. The government is heading in the right direction to sustain the growth of this sector by taking steps like formulating the National Civil Aviation Policy, launching the regional connectivity scheme to operationalise around 425 under-served and unused airports and airstrips, relaxing of FDI in the aviation sector, developing greenfield and brownfield airports (as is being done in Pune and other cities) to complement the robust air traffic growth etc. The fact that in 2016-17, the annual growth in domestic passenger departures in India was 23.5 per cent as compared to 3.3 per cent in the USA and 10.7 per cent in China shows the potential and demand our country holds for growth in the aviation sector.”
“Some of the main expectations from the budget are fund provision to speed up the airport infrastructure development, encouraging PPP for speedy development of airports in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities to facilitate UDAN flights, policies for air safety enhancements and skill development in the aviation sector, offering more incentives to regional airlines,” he said.
“Rising crude oil prices will impact operating cost of airlines, which will look up to the government for some relief. Also, growth in aviation is interlinked with the hospitality sector. With five regional airlines adding up to 100 new regional routes and the number set to increase. The tourism industry is set to boom in the coming years and there is a need for a strong supporting hospitality infrastructure to bolster the growth,” Vandekar added.
“Policies and decisions are required to be taken to encourage travel and tourism like easing up of the visa regime; granting infrastructure status to the hospitality industry; cutting taxes and promoting investments in airlines; hotels and tourism to reinforce these sectors so that local markets are able to successfully compete with overseas MICE destinations. It is expected that the finance minister will announce encouraging incentives and reforms for these sectors,” he told Sakal Times.