Union Minister Jayant Sinha made a big claim on Thursday in regards to the Indian aviation market. While speaking at the day-long Ideas Summit 2017 of entrepreneurs, Sinha said, India’s aviation market would surpass the US and China by crossing a billion passenger trips per year in the next 10 to 15 years. “The growth in aviation sector is unprecedented. In the last three-four years, we have actually been growing at 15-20 per cent. From 100 million passenger trips a few years ago we will double to about 200 million passenger trips this fiscal. In fact, India is already the third largest domestic aviation market in the world only after the US and China,” he said. Giving the stats of the US and China’s aviation market Sinha said, the United States stood at around 900 million passenger trips per year while China stood at 600 million and projected that in India the market will grow to a one billion passenger trips market in the next 15-20 years. “So, from 500 planes in the sky, we will have to go to about 2000 planes,” Sinha said at the event organised by the Foundation for Resource Development and Education at SKICC. The Union minister said aviation was going to be one of the largest industries in India and airlines had placed orders for over 900 planes.
Meanwhile, Sinha also announced that the Srinagar Airport will soon see a major revamp with night landing facility and international connectivity. He said that the Valley will be directly connected to international destinations like Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. “My endeavour will be to have international flights in Srinagar by the time tourist season starts in May-June,” Sinha said in Srinagar. For the benefit of pilgrims travelling to Vaishno Devi, the union minister said that his ministry is exploring of building new airport in Katra, Jammu. Sinha was addressing at the day-long Ideas Summit 2017 of entrepreneurs.
Sinha said that most of the work to make night landing facility operational have been completed. “We are going to be working very hard to get night landing done in Srinagar as soon as possible. We are going to build approach lights so that landing takes place in the night and they also help in safer landing even in low visibility,” he said. Sinha added that “I have been told that most of the arrangements for night landing have been done and the approach lights will be readied soon and it will be implemented. This will happen in just a few months and should not take more than that.”
Asked about any specific date for the completion of work, Sinha said, “I cannot give you a firm commitment on this, but we are going to do our level best to enable Srinagar to get connected towards the east to Kuala Lumpur and we are going to see a possibility to connect you to Dubai as well.”
The minister further added, “Of course, we have some over-flight issue as you know, I will try for that. But east is not an issue, therefore as far as Kuala Lumpur is concerned, through Air Asia, I am sure in six months we will have it done.” Sinha also said that during peak tourist season a scheme like Udaan will be devised for connecting Srinagar.
In a bid to bring more tourist comfortably to Srinagar, the initiative will be sponsored by the Centre and the state in partnership. Sinha said that at present about 40 flights operate at Srinagar airport but with new changes, it can have many more flights and that would help tourists, business people and craftsmen to Kashmir. Sinha also said that cargo facilities would be expanded at the Srinagar airport and building a pilot training facility will also be examined.