Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday that coronavirus scare may lead to 15-20 per cent drop in domestic air traffic, but India would overcome the challenge and see robust growth in the civil aviation sector.
He said the situation may cause some economic disadvantage, but it was only a passing phase. He exuded confidence that India would be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise from the global challenge.
The minister was addressing Wings India 2020, the civil aviation event organized by the ministry of civil aviation.
"In a country of nearly 1.30 billion people, we have 80 positive cases. Many of them are going to be okay, we may add some but looking at that perspective we will not only overcome the challenge, but I see robust and vibrant growth in the civil aviation sector," he said.
Mr Puri said India was well on course to become third largest civil aviation market. While the number of air passengers handling by the country is likely to go up from current 345 million passengers per annum to one billion by 2030, the minister said with the kind of penetration and double-digit growth, India would there much before 2030. He said the country might even reach that number by 2024-25.
Listing out the steps taken to screen passengers since the outbreak of coronavirus in China, he said the India airports constitute a global benchmark on how airports should work in a situation like this.
Mr Puri said the country had so far screened 10,876 flights coming in from outside and many of them were wide-bodied aircraft. As many as 11,71,061 passengers were screened and 3,225 passengers required further screening.