The FINANCIAL -- Delhi - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the government of India to maximize the potential contribution of aviation to India’s development by addressing infrastructure constraints that limit growth and government policies that impose excessive costs on aviation.
Growth forecasts for India indicate a trebling of passenger demand by 2037 when some 500 million people are expected to fly to, from or within India. Already aviation supports 7.5 million Indian jobs and US$30 billion of GDP (1.5% of the economy).
Global connectivity that only aviation can provide is a critical driver of all modern economies. The financial struggles of India’s airline industry put the stable development of connectivity at risk. And India’s carriers are suffering a “double-whammy” of steeply rising fuel costs and the decline in the value of the Indian Rupee. The rise in fuel costs is particularly acute for Indian carriers for which fuel makes-up 34% of operating costs—well above the global average of 24%.
De Juniac’s remarks came in an opening address to the International Aviation Summit in Delhi, co-hosted by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the Airports Authority India (AAI) and IATA. The joint Summit commemorates the approaching milestone of 50-straight months of double digit domestic growth for Indian aviation.
India’s aviation infrastructure has benefitted from significant upgrades in recent years. “It is clear that India has the capacity to develop effective infrastructure. But the job is not done. Passenger numbers will grow. And infrastructure must not be a bottleneck in fulfilling the needs of travelers and the economy,” said de Juniac who called for work in four priority areas:
Remove all obstacles to successfully open Navi Mumbai as quickly as possible. Urgent relief is needed for Mumbai’s severe capacity bottleneck.
Modernize airport processes using technology in line with global standards. The DigiYatra initiative will make a significant step in the right direction with digitally connected airports, passengers, systems and flights. In line with this, IATA encouraged the Indian government to support the broad implementation of IATA’s One ID initiative which uses biometric identification (similar to India’s Aadhar identity card) to save time by eliminating the need for repeated document checks in airports.
Flexibly use military airspace to expand airspace capacity for civil operations. This was successfully demonstrated with the opening of a conditional airway through restricted airspace over Bhuj and should now be expanded to more areas.
IATA also encouraged the government to look at ways to improve India’s competitiveness by aligning with global standards and reducing excessive government imposed costs.