Bangalore: Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Civil Aviation Minister, Govt of India today said that COVID-19 has provided new opportunities to the Indian civil aviation sector. “Today, India is the third largest domestic aviation market and poised to become third largest in the overall civil aviation market very soon. The Indian aviation sector has grown exponentially in last few years and is one of the critical enablers as well as an indicator for India’s endeavour towards a US$ 5 trillion economy,” he added.
Addressing the virtual session ‘The Future and Dynamics of Civil Aviation Sector: Making India an Aviation Hub’, organized by FICCI during the ‘Aero India 2021-13th Biennial International Exhibition & Conference’, Mr Puri said, “The PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat is not just about manufacturing for the world, it is also about creating jobs and the aviation sector has significant multiplier effect on job creation,” he said.
Talking about the government’s vision of 2040, Mr Puri said that the vision talks about India as an aviation hub. India’s aviation infrastructure has been benefited with recent upgrades in recent years and India has the capacity to develop effective infrastructure. To fully realize its potential, the government is focusing on policies to add remote and regional areas to the map of Indian aviation, added Mr Puri.
Elaborating on the expansion of airports in the country, Mr Puri said that we will be adding 100 new airports by 2024 and the figures indicate a mammoth opportunity in Indian civil aviation sector. Highlighting the importance of air cargo sector, he said that the resilience shown by Indian air cargo sector despite challenges posed by the pandemic drives home the benefit that has been brought through policy changes and recalibration of business models. “We expect that we may close the year 2021 at the same level of 2019-20,” added Mr Puri.
Speaking on the potential of air cargo, Mr Puri said that the resilience shown by Indian air cargo sector despite COVID-19 challenges drives home the benefit that has been brought through policy changes and recalibration of business models. We expect that we may close the year 2021 at the same level of 2019-20.”
He further said that currently the helicopter potential in India is well below the potential of the country as large as India. There is a growing requirement of helicopters for civil use in tourism, mining, corporate travel, air ambulance, homeland security. Similarly, efforts are on to establish India as an MRO hub. To promote MRO services, he said the government has taken many measures like reduction of GST on MRO services reduced. This will not only allow foreign partners to establish in India but benefit our Indian companies as well. “India now stands poised to enter US$ 5 billion aircraft spares market in a significant way,” he added.
Mr Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India while highlighting the potential of Indian aviation sector said that people now want to travel from point to point and is an opportunity for carriers. “We are working on the air services agreement to provide a level playing field to our carriers.”
He further said that currently, we have over 100 operational airports in India and the government is targeting to develop 200 airports in next 4 years including airport, heliports, seaports and advanced landing grounds. “The unique feature in this would be inviting public private partnership. We had very successful PPPs and we are looking for more private investment which will make airports a hub of economic activity,” added Mr Kharola.
Mr Remi Maillard, Chairman, FICCI Civil Aviation Committee and President & MD, Airbus India said COVID-19 has given an opportunity to India to turn into an international hub. Indian carriers have a competitive advantage, and we must leverage to developing long haul flights. “We have discovered that resilience is very important. We have never compromised on safety as aviation means safety,” he added.
Ms Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chair, FICCI Civil Aviation Committee & President and Country Head, Pratt & Whitney India said that India will continue to grow as fastest growing market and we need to nurture innovation and start-ups and skill development. “We should incentivize manufacturers and OEMs to scale-up in India,” she added.
Ms Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation; Mr Amitabh Khosla, Country Director, IATA; Mr Wolfgang Prock-Shauer, COO, Indigo; Mr Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India; Mr D Anand Bhaskar, MD & CEO, Air Works also shared their perspective.