According to the latest Economic Survey, the Indian aviation industry has started recovering from the pandemic impact. The increased rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the easing of travel restrictions worldwide are cited as the reasons for the betterment of the situation.
In 2021, the government implemented several measures to boost the aviation industry. Some of the measures adopted by the Central government include the calibrated opening of the domestic sector when the first wave of the pandemic ended, as well as introducing air transport bubbles with specific countries.
The central government also successfully strengthened the regional air connectivity with the UDAN scheme. The government expanded and modernised airports to bolster the industrial infrastructure. Recently, the government privatised the debt-ridden national carrier Air India.
“The domestic traffic in India has more than doubled from around 61 million in 2013-14 to around 137 million in 2019-20, registering a growth of over 14% per annum,” the survey cited.
UDAN strengthened India’s regional connectivity
Under UDAN, the RCS-UDAN program conducted four rounds of bidding and identified 153 airports for RCS flights, which include 12 runways on water and 36 helipads. In a span of four years after the commencement of the UDAN scheme, 948 valid awarded routes have been allotted to various airlines. Among the allocated routes, 389 RCS routes connect 62 unserved and underserved airports, which are currently operational. More routes are in progress.
“India had 74 airports with scheduled operations until the launch of UDAN scheme in 2016,” the survey noted.
Drone as a propeller for country’s development
The government is now liberalising policies related to drones. The government will introduce PLI (production-linked incentive) arrangements for drones. Due to the reach, ease of use and versatility, drones can become an essential propeller for growth in all sectors of the economy. This includes India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
“The policy reforms will therefore catalyse super-normal growth in the upcoming drone sector. A resurgence of the sector is foreseen due to swift measures adopted by the government and industry,” stated the report.
With the help of all such measures, Indian aviation industry is on the path of gradual recovery from the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report indicated that the total number of passengers carried reached 99.58 lakh, roughly 68% of the pre-Covid days of 146.25 lakh.