The growth in India’s air passenger traffic has been tremendous—from 134.98 million in 2015-16 to 184 million in 2017-18.
However, as per the Ministry of the Civil Aviation’s ‘Vision 2040’ report, which was released earlier this week, it is expected to rise six-fold—approximately 1.1 billion by 2040.
So, what does this mean for the air travel infrastructure in India?
Well, here are five things you need to know about the report.
1) “India may have around 190-200 operational airports in 2040. Its top 31 cities may have two airports, and the cities of Delhi and Mumbai three each,” the report said.
For example, the airport in Delhi which handled 63.5 million passengers in 2017, is expected to service 70 million this year and move beyond operating capacity.
In November, the Hindustan Times had reported that at least 20 cities in India would require the construction of a second airport considering the rapid rise in air passenger traffic, according to a study done by the ministry. These cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Pune, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Patna, Kolkata and Bengaluru, among others.
2) With rising air passenger traffic, the fleet of commercial planes in India will also rise nearly four times from 622 in March 2018 to 2359 in March 2040, as per the vision document.
3) “The incremental land requirement is expected to be around 1,50,000 acre, and the capital investment (not including the cost of acquiring land) is expected to be around USD 40-50 billion,” the document said.
4) Speaking to the Hindustan Times, officials in the ministry have proposed the establishment of an NABH Nirman Fund (NNF) with a starting corpus of nearly $2 billion which will offer the necessary monetary support for new airports struggling with low traffic.
NABH is an abbreviation for Next Generation Airports for Bharat. “The concept of land pooling may be used to keep land acquisition costs low and to provide landowners with high value developed plots in the vicinity of the airport,” the report added.
5) “We are working on getting aircraft financing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry in India, which will also increase jobs in the country,” said Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, according to a report published in the Mint. Today, most airlines in India go abroad to avail of MRO services and raise capital for financing aircraft buys.
“The fundamental drivers of air passenger demand, including population and demographics and increasing incomes, are favourable and supportive of ongoing growth over the longer-term,” said the report.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)