- Today, airfare is less than that of an auto-rickshaw, said Jayant Sinha
- Number of flyers doubled in past four years: Government
- Number of people traveling in planes is set to rise this year: Mr Sinha
Union Minister Jayant Sinha believes that it is costlier to travel in an auto-rickshaw than to take a flight. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation has an explanation.
When one flies, one is charged Re 1 less than when one travels by an auto, he reasons.
"Today, airfare is less than that of an auto-rickshaw. You'll ask how is that possible? When two people take an auto-rickshaw they pay fare of Rs 10 which means they're charged Rs 5/km but when you go by air you are charged Rs 4/km," he said on Monday.
This is not the first time he has made the statement this year.
He offered the same logic in February, while speaking at a management conference in Indore.
"In today's India, the fares of airplanes are lower than that of auto-rickshaws. Some people will say that I'm talking nonsense, but this is true," Mr Sinha had said then.
The minister said more people were opting for air travel because the country had the cheapest fares in the world.
Four years ago the number of people travelling by air was 11 crore, said the minister. This year, it is likely to touch 20 crore.
According to the aviation ministry, the number of air passengers in the country is higher than railway passengers travelling in AC coaches. The number of air passenger trips in the country has doubled in the past four years, the government says.
In 2013, the total number of passenger trips was about 100 million, Mr Sinha says, which has doubled to 200 million in 2017.