The number of India’s domestic and international flyers is expected to double to 400 million in the next 5-7 years, Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia said today.
Speaking at the 49th National Management Convention of the All India Management Association, Scindia said, “In 2013-14 total number of domestic and international travellers in India was 110 million and today it is roughly 200 million. It will double to 400 million in the next 5-7 years.”
Domestic flyers made up 144 million of the total basket while 60 million were international flyers, the minister said while further adding that there is also a pressing need to increase the number of airports and heliports to be able to handle the surge in passenger traffic.
“The infrastructure on the ground has to increase at the same pace also. We had 74 airports in India in the last 70 years. In the last 8 years we added 67 years, taking the total to 141. I see that number, between airport, heliport and waterdrome growing to 220 in 5-6 years,” Scindia added.
As per an assessment made by Airports Authority of India (AAI), all India total air passenger traffic is expected to increase to around 827 million by the year 2032-33.
Scindia’s Ministry has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 greenfield airports across the country namely, including Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Kannur in Kerala, Dabra (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, Kushinagar and Noida (Jewar) in Uttar Pradesh.
With just 250 helicopters, India has one of the lowest penetration of helicopters in the world. Scindia said, “The helicopter penetration of India is abysmally low. We have brought in a new helicopter policy where we have done away with all charges like TNFC, RNLC to make helicopters become a preferred mode of travel. We have included helicopters in the Udan Yojna. We have also awarded 25 more routes under the yojna for helicopters to provide last mile connectivity.”
India has a negligible presence in air medical service. To change that Scindia said that his ministry is working with a couple of other ministries to tap into the air ambulance service segment.
“I am working with (Nitin) Gadkari and the Health Ministry to look at Helicopter Emergency Medical (HEM) services. This will be vital for treating victims during the golden hour. We can evacuate them directly to the hospital and the first center we are looking at is AIIMS Rishikesh. I am putting out an RFP in the next few weeks,” Scindia added.