Civil aviation to see progressive step-up of capacity: Hardeep Singh Puri

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on June 16, 2020

Aviation sector needs bailout package, says Spicejet CMD

Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the country’s aviation sector, both domestic and international, including Vande Bharat flights, will see a gradual and progressive step-up of operations.

“Of the 33 per cent capacity now permitted, the capacity utilisation in the domestic sector is at about 70 per cent. We expect to soon take the capacity of permissible domestic market flights to over 50-55 per cent,” he said.

Interacting at a Webinar titled “Reposing the Faith in Flying,” he said the Indian aviation sector, which has been growing at a double digit rate, is well poised to become among the largest aviation player in the world.

“While we are certain the domestic market will go up significantly in years to come, we need to look at garnering a bigger share of the international flights,” he said.

“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we (India) prided ourselves as the world’s third largest aviation market with about 140 million passengers per annum. We believe that we will be able to reach newer heights once the post Covid normalcy returns to the system,” he said.

Referring to the operation of the Vande Bharat flights, he said: “The number of flights operating will also be ramped up. But the real challenge to operate international flights is the necessity for countries to open up and then permit operation of flights.”

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of Spicejet, said: “The country’s aviation sector is the most impacted due to the Covid crisis. All the airliners and airports have been financially impacted with their revenues falling to almost zero in the past couple of months. Several countries have extended financial support to the airlines and aviation sector, and we have to compete with them.”

“From the aviation sector, we hope to see the Indian government also extending similar support to bail out the sector which has a far reaching impact on the country and its economy. The Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat could help the sector,” he said.

Referring to the Spicejet, he said: “During the Covid lockdown Spicejet focussed on cargo operations and managed to transport about 20,000 tonnes of medicines, medical equipment and essential supplies, including farm and marine items.”

“In a very short time, interacting with various stakeholders in the aviation sector, we have managed to develop various protocols, including contact less interface in airports, for flying during the Covid times. These are being hailed by other players in the aviation sector globally,” Singh said.

During the interaction hosted by GMR, Videh Jaipuriar, CEO of DIAL, said: “A survey conducted on the passengers after airlines started operations shows that the business travel has come back in a big way.”

Published on June 16, 2020

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