August , 2016
00:00 am

Ankita Chakraborty

India’s civil aviation industry is on a high with an aim to become the third highest aviation market by 2020 and the largest by 2030. Factors like the low-cost carriers (LCCs), modern airports, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in domestic airlines, advanced information technology (IT) interventions and growing emphasis on regional connectivity have enabled the aviation industry to reach a new growth trajectory.

Currently, India is the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world. According to Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, International Air Transport Association (IATA), “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.”In May, domestic air passenger traffic rose 21.63% to 8.67 million from 7.13 million during the same month last year. Passenger traffic during FY 2015-16 increased at a rate of 21.3% to 85.57 million from 70.54 million in the FY 2014-15. In March, total aircraft movements at all Indian airports stood at 160,830, which was 14.9% higher than March 2015. International and domestic aircraft movements increased by 10.5% and 16.0%, respectively in March 2016, states a report in IBEF.

Freight graph-Aviation
As per the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the Indian domestic air traffic is expected to cross 100 million passengers by FY2017, compared to 81 million passengers in 2015. 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 ` 8,100 crore in fiscal year 2016.

According to TRA Research, “National carrier Air India ranks first. SpiceJet leads in Domestic Private Airlines (DPAs) followed by Jet Airways with a 34% lower brand rep score. While Indigo Airlines trails Jet with a brand rep score of 9% lower. In the International Private Airlines segment, Singapore Airlines leads the way followed by Etihad with a brand rep score which is 19% lower than the category leader. Emirates brand rep score was 27% lower than Etihad.”

Domestic Airlines were always favoured in India’s aviation policies over the years. However, private players were given free rein since 1990 and that is when Indian domestic aviation sector came into its own. Favourable policies, high-tending demand, and a continuously upward-climbing Indian middle class have seen the footfall count for domestic carriers ascend.

Pooja Kaura, Chief Spokesperson for India’s Most Reputed Brand, a product of BlueBytes in association with TRA Research, told BE, “It is amazing to note that Indian aviation has seen close to 15% growth in passenger count year-on-year for close to 21 months now. This is the highest in the world and establishes that no-frills airlines definitely rule the Indian skies.”

“The focus of the report is to evaluate brand’s reputation with a two-pronged approach of media analysis and a survey of consumer influencers. Air India’s media coverage made up a whopping 20% of the overall domestic airlines news coverage. Also, not only did Air India lead in terms of the sheer volume of news articles, the total percentage share of positive articles measured was above average, accounting for 7% of the industry news and 37% of Air India’s news making it India’s Most Reputed Aviation Brand,” added Pooja.

Companies and investments

Companies like Airbus SAS, Aequs Aerospace, Auto components maker Bharat Forge Ltd. (BFL), have signed agreements for providing parts and machines. Lockheed Martin Corporation is likely to make India a manufacturing base for its F-16V fighter jets, C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes and helicopters. Boeing will invest in India in terms of funds as well as skills, capabilities, infrastructure, and partnerships so as to help the aerospace sector build capacity and become one of the drivers of the Indian economy.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has also been signed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with Finland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Oman, and Ethiopia for increased co-operation between the countries in terms of additional seats, sharing of airlines codes, increased frequencies, and additional points of call. Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) has signed a joint venture with American aircraft manufacturing major, Boeing to establish a centre of excellence for manufacturing aero structures for Apache helicopter and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India in the long term.


Some major initiatives undertaken by the government

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation has finalised and put forward for approval to the Union Cabinet the new aviation policy, which includes proposals such as allowing new airlines to fly abroad, introduction of more regional flights, and a new formula for granting bilateral flying rights.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), aimed at providing space technology for construction of airports.
  • The AAI plans to develop city-side infrastructure at 13 regional airports across India, with help from private players for building of hotels, car parks and other facilities, and thereby boost its non-aeronautical revenues.
  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator, has signed an agreement with United States Technical Development Agency (USTDA) for India Aviation Safety Technical Assistance Phase II, aimed at bringing in systemic improvements in the area of operation, airworthiness, and licensing.
  • The Government of India has given site clearance to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Development Corporation (DMICDC) for setting up of a greenfield airport for public use near Bhiwadi in Alwar district of Rajasthan and has granted ‘in-principle’ approval to 13 other greenfield airport projects.
  • The AAI plans to revive and operationalise around 50 airports in India over the next 10 years to improve regional and remote air connectivity.
  • Gujarat is expected to get a second international airport at Dholera. The state government has formed Dholera International Airport Co. Ltd. and is obtaining approvals from the union government.
  • The DGCA has given its approval to Air India’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) unit.
  • The Government of India has decided to award airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad on management contract. AAI has issued the ‘Request for Qualification’ document for these four airports.

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