The number of air passengers in the country will surpass 410 million per annum by 2024-25 given the the post-Covid V-shaped recovery and the thrust being given by the government to civil aviation sector, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Union Minister for Civil Aviation said. 

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Wings India 2022, Asia’s largest civil aviation conference here on Friday, Scindia said despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector recovered fast. After witnessing a significant drop in the domestic passengers during the Covid times, the traffic had reached 3.83 lakh per day now, he said. The passenger traffic was at 4.1 lakh per day in the pre-Covid period.  “In International travel, the traffic was 60 million in 2018-19 which fell to 10 million during Covid-19. ``The international travel will be 100 per cent opened up in two days from now (on March 27). We should be able to surpass 410 million in the total number of domestic and international travel passengers by 2024-25,’‘ the minister said.  Stating that India was looking at ‘tremendous’ expansion, the Scindia said the total number of airports (including helipads and waterdroms were being increased. “By 2024-25, their total number will go up from 140 to 220,’‘ he added.  With an addition of 110 to 120 new aircraft every year, the total number of aircraft in the country was increasing, he said. As of now, India has 310 aircraft. The airline operators should also increase the number of wide-body aircraft in view of the expansion of the sector, Scindia said. 

‘Double digit growth’

Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, Airports Authority of India said the domestic civil aviation sector has reached pre-Covid-19 levels.  “With the opening up of international travel from March 27, we will have a double digit growth in the sector and also make the loss of last two years,” he said.

Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Civil Aviation, said the UDAN scheme had grown well in the last six years and would also be expanded to tier 3 and tier 4 cities. The capacity of airports, including majors ones such as Delhi and Hyderabad, was being expanded, Bansal added.

The four-day conference is being held from March 24-28.