“It is my privilege to be with you this afternoon and to have just released two important books, which encapsulate the growth story of Indian Aviation.
At the outset, my heartiest congratulations to Mr. G.M. Rao and his team for having successfully completed 12 years of operations at Delhi Airport which is India’s leading airport in the PPP sector.
I am given to understand that since the time GMR Group took over this airport, the number of Air Traffic Movements have gone up by 250 per cent, while the passenger numbers have gone up nearly 400 per cent. This is by no means a small achievement while maintaining a consistent top rank in the service quality rankings and making India proud by continuously being the world’s number one airport for the past few years.
If one looks at the world aviation scenario, it has doubled in the last 15 years and today, a country like India is the 4th largest aviation market in the world.
We are also among a few countries in the world which took bold steps of privatizing the industry. Today PPP airports handle 55 per cent of the total Indian Passenger Traffic and more than 72 per cent of the total air cargo traffic. I am also told that Delhi Airport is 16th busiest airport globally and they are targeting it to be among the top five in the near future.
The world today faces a variety of economic challenges as well as extreme volatility on various fronts. At times like this, it is important that appropriate investments be made to increase and improve the infrastructure within the country. I am informed that Delhi Airport will soon be spending nearly Rs. 9,000 crore to boost its capacity to nearly 100 million passengers per annum.
The Economic Impact Study has also been a huge eye-opener. I am happy to note that the Delhi airport contributes to almost 0.7 per cent of the national GDP and almost 18 per cent of Delhi’s GSDP. It is extremely heartening to note that this entity employs nearly 28 lakh employees both directly as well as indirectly.
I always knew that there was something significant happening whenever an announcement was made about the airport, but these figures and ranks which have now been highlighted bear testimony to the devotion, dedication and discipline of all agencies involved in the operations of Delhi Airport.
Congratulations to all on this achievement, particularly to Shri Mallikarjuna Rao and his family. I wish GMR group many more achievements in the years to come. With the government deciding to improve domestic air connectivity and make it affordable, the need of the hour is to provide quality infrastructure and efficient customer services. The scope for growth and expansion of the Indian civil aviation industry is huge and the focus must be on making it accessible and affordable to the common man.
The global airlines body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), has projected India to be the third largest aviation market around 2024 surpassing the UK.
It has also projected the Asia-Pacific region to drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets. The growth is being driven by a combination of continued robust economic growth, improvements in household incomes and favourable population and demographic profiles, it noted.
The present trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037 and this doubling of air passengers could support 100 million jobs globally, according to IATA.
The National Civil Aviation Policy unveiled in 2016 has mentioned that if every Indian in the middle class income bracket takes just one fight a year, it would result in a sale of 35 crore tickets.
It should be noted that the growth of the aviation sector will have a multiplier effect on the Indian economy as it would positively impact hospitality and tourism sectors, among others.
The Aviation Policy seeks to create an ecosystem to make flying affordable to masses to enable 30 crore domestic ticketing by 2022 and 50 crore by 2027. The government also launched the UDAN scheme to develop regional connectivity and promote economically viable flights on regional routes.
In the end, I would like all the airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation industry to place the safety and passengers’ convenience at the centre of all your activities.