India's civil aviation industry is on a high-growth trajectory. India aims to become the third-largest aviation market by 2020 and the largest by 2030.
The Civil Aviation industry has ushered in a new era of expansion, driven by factors such as low-cost carriers (LCCs), modern airports, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in domestic airlines, advanced information technology (IT) interventions and growing emphasis on regional connectivity. India is the ninth-largest civil aviation market in the world, with a market size of around US$ 16 billion.
"The world is focused on Indian aviation – from manufacturers, tourism boards, airlines and global businesses to individual travellers, shippers and businessmen. If we can find common purpose among all stakeholders in Indian aviation, a bright future is at hand" said Mr. Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In January 2016, domestic air passenger traffic rose 23 per cent to 7.66 million from 6.25 million during the same month of last year. Passenger traffic during the January-December 2015 increased at a rate of 20.3 per cent to 81.1 million from 67.4 million in the corresponding period a year ago.
In January 2016, total aircraft movements at all Indian airports stood at 156,048, which was 15.9 per cent higher than January 2015. International and domestic aircraft movements increased 10.6 per cent and 17.5 per cent, respectively, in January 2016. Indian domestic air traffic is expected to cross 100 million passengers by FY2017, compared to 81 million passengers in 2015, as per Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
India is among the five fastest-growing aviation markets globally with 275 million new passengers The airlines operating in India are projected to record a collective operating profit of Rs 8,100 crore (US$ 1.29 billion) in fiscal year 2016, according to Crisil Ltd.
According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), FDI inflows in air transport (including air freight) between April 2000 and December 2015 stood at US$ 612.53 million.
Key investments and developments in India's aviation industry include:
Government agencies project that around 500 brownfield and greenfield airports would be required by 2020. The private sector is being encouraged to become actively involved in the construction of airports through different Public Private Partnership models, with substantial state support in terms of financing, concessional land allotment, tax holidays and other incentives.
In the Union Budget 2016-17, the government introduced various proposals for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations for airplanes. These include customs and excise duty exemption for tools and tool-kits used in MRO works. The government has also scrapped the one-year restriction for utilisation of duty free parts apart from allowing import of unserviceable parts by MROs for providing exchange. As per revised norms, the foreign aircraft brought in to India for MRO work would now be permitted to stay up to six months or as extended by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Such foreign aircraft would also be henceforth permitted to carry passengers in the flights at the start and end of its period of stay in India.
Some major initiatives undertaken by the government are:
India's aviation industry is largely untapped with huge growth opportunities, considering that air transport is still expensive for majority of the country's population, of which nearly 40 per cent is the upwardly mobile middle class.
The industry stakeholders should engage and collaborate with policy makers to implement efficient and rational decisions that would boost India's civil aviation industry. With the right policies and relentless focus on quality, cost and passenger interest, India would be well placed to achieve its vision of becoming the third-largest aviation market by 2020 and the largest by 2030. Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0147 as on March 01, 2016
References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI), Union Budget 2016-17
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