Indian Airline Industry Takes Off After Covid Turbulence

Akasa Air, the country's latest entry into an established and competitive airline industry, set off its commercial operations with its first flight on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

Indian Airline Industry Takes Off After Covid Turbulence

With more routes and airports opening up, the airline industry is set to witness robust growth.

New Delhi:

A consistently ascending trajectory of India's aviation sector has paved the way for a competition-driven acceleration amongst the country's airliners.

Akasa Air, the country's latest entry into an established and competitive airline industry, set off its commercial operations with its first flight on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

Backed by the late billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Akasa has a 72 Boeing aircraft fleet on order and is set to compete directly with other budget carriers like Indigo, Spicejet and Go First.

Akasa launched operations with an aim to connect India's metropolitan cities with smaller towns.

Their strategy was created in line with the government's regional connectivity UDAN scheme, which was designed to make airline travel available to common citizens at affordable prices.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently said, "In the last five years, we have grown from 2013-14 almost 6 crore passengers to almost 14.5 crore passengers. We forecast by 2027 India will have 40 crore passengers per year. That's the kind of phenomenal growth and if that phenomenal growth has to be made possible it can only be made possible by a number of players coming into the sector".

Currently, there are nine scheduled airlines operating in India, the biggest being Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air Asia India, Go First and Vistara.

In a major challenge to the existing players, in January this year, the Tata Group secured control of the state-run carrier Air India in a USD 2.4 billion equity and debt deal, ending years of struggle trying to privatise the financially-troubled airline.

Three years after being grounded due to a cash crunch, Jet Airways is also back in business as well. The airline is expected to resume its commercial operations from September.

The Ministry of Civil aviation, which has welcomed such growth and expansion, expects the fresh competition to generate 100,000 new jobs in the next two years.

Travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic had severely affected the industry. With the easing of restrictions, India's domestic air travel has made a sharp recovery with airlines flying over 57 million passengers in the first half of this year, up by 238 per cent from last year.

G P Rao, former General Manager of Air India said, "India is seeing a phenomenal revival post COVID restrictions though the industry started very slow but it picked up the momentum and is in a full swing. If you see the Indian aviation market, it is the fourth largest next to the US, China and the UK".

He added, "Now soon, we are expecting that India will overtake the UK. Now, because of the UDAN scheme, airlines started operating more than 600 routes and because of this there are more than 10 million people benefitted".

Observers say the sky is the limit for the aviation sector in India.

The Airports Authority of India, the implementing agency, has awarded 948 routes under the Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN, from which 405 routes involving 65 airports have been operationalised as of March this year.

With more routes and airports opening up, the airline industry is set to witness robust growth.

This brings more investment opportunities for the country thereby also enhancing the employment potential as well. This is another rapidly developing story of Brand India.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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