Indian aviation sector is reviving: Ajit Singh
Mumbai, March 17 : Various policy measures initiated by the government for the civil aviation sector have begun to yield results and the airline industry in India is witnessing a revival, union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said Sunday.
On account of these policies, the general aviation business would emerge as a key driver of regional connectivity and economic development, he said.
He cited the recent examples of the Tata-Air Asia proposal to float a joint venture private airline and the interest evinced by Etihaad as examples of the growing business confidence in the Indian civil aviation sector.
Addressing the 11th Routes Asia Conference which has attracted 160 delegates from 88 airlines around the world, Ajit Singh asserted that the 49 percent FDI in aviation was "the single most important policy decision" which will transform the country's civil aviation scenario.
In order to boost international air travel, the government has liberalised grant of traffic rights to Indian carriers.
"The new traffic rights have opened up several new international sectors and increased the traffic entitlements of our carriers by approximately 60 percent," the minister said.
Ajit Singh called upon all the stakeholders in the aviation sector to engage in jointly promoting "Brand India".
Emphasising on the government's thrust on development of infrastructure, the minister said: "India envisages investment of $12.1 billion during the 12th Plan period, of which $9.3 billion is expected to come from the private sector."
He said besides the four public-private-partnership airports at New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the Airports Authority of India has modernised Kolkata and Chennai airports and was developing 35 other non-metro airports.
At present, India is the 9th largest aviation market in the world handling 121 million domestic and 41 million international passengers annually, said Ajit Singh.
Responding to a query on the delay in commencing the work on the proposed new international airport at Navi Mumbai, he said the ongoing modernisation and expansion being carried out at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai would enable it handle up to 40 million passengers per annum.
Maharashtra Chief Secretary J.K. Banthia, who was also present, said that 70 percent land acquisition for the Navi Mumbai airport has been completed and the state government is now in the process of relocating high tension transmission lines.
As per original plans, the new Navi Mumbai airport was scheduled to commence operations around 2015-16.
Routes Asia is a key event for airports, airlines, policy makers and tourism authorities to network and explore growth opportunities.