LONDON – Speaking at an industry conference, India’s aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Indian airline’s fleet numbers are predicted to double in the next 5 years.
Speaking at the Assocham conference, minister Scindia said, “In five years, we are looking at 1,200 fleet size in the country, which will be almost double of the current number of 700 aircraft.”
Passenger numbers are similarly predicted to double over the next decade – increasing from the present levels of 200 million passengers annually to 400 million in the next 7-10 years.
To cope with the rising demand, the aviation minister spoke of the need to move towards wide-body aircraft, saying: “We need wide-body aircraft in the country to become an international hub, that is why the ministry of civil aviation is working seriously on it and we have engaged with the professionals to make India an international hub in aviation.”
India is presently set to become the third largest world aviation sector by 2024.
Indian airlines flying high
Invest India, the national investment promotion agency, confirms that the nation’s aviation sector is on a high-growth path. They forecast that India’s airline fleet will quadruple in size by 2038, rising to 2,500 aircraft.
The agency cites factors of rising numbers of middle-income householders, strong competition with low-cost airlines, and infrastructure development at major airports as being responsible for pushing the Indian aviation market along.
As well as developing India as a major world aviation hub, the Indian government has plans in place to develop the country’s regional market. The Regional Connectivity Scheme, or UDAN (‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’), aims to increase connectivity to under-served regional airports and to make air travel generally more accessible and affordable.
A further phase of this regional plan is to develop India’s seaplane operations., and develop water landing sites. So far 14 water aerodromes have been identified in the states of Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
Last month, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) formalized the award of the 14 water aerodromes under the UDAN scheme.
Development of MRO support
With the rising numbers of passenger movements and the attendant increase in aircraft numbers, the need for engineering and maintenance support rises proportionately. To address this, factors such as land allocation for future MRO bases were considered.
The Indian MRO sector is predicted to grow to over US$2.4 billion by 2028. Similar to its vision of making India a global aviation hub, the government also sees the maintenance and repair sector for India’s airlines extending internationally to become a Global MRO hub.
“We are in the growth phase, and there are tremendous opportunities on the airlines and airports side,” aviation minister Scindia said.
Bengaluru airport recently played host to India’s newest start-up airline Akasa Air. You can read AviationSource writer Gaurav Gowda’s local trip reports here: Flying the inaugural route with new carrier Akasa Air; Bengaluru Airport to Mysore with Alliance Air, a trip with AirAsia India Mumbai to New Delhi, and flying IndiGo ATR from Bengaluru Airport.