The Indian aviation industry, a critical driver of both domestic and international tourism, has witnessed exponential growth over the past decade, with 192 million passengers processed in the past year.
In comparison, the combined passenger count for domestic and international flights stood at approximately 98 million in 2013.
Current projections suggest that by the end of 2024, the industry could surpass all previous records, stated Tara Naidu, chief of commercial, Air India Express, during the Examining Aviation’s Path in India and its Impact on Travel and Tourism session at PATA Travel Mart 2023 Forum.
The boom in passenger numbers is accompanied by substantial aircraft orders from major Indian airlines. In June 2023, Air India firmed up its order for 250 Airbus aircraft and 220 Boeing jets, while domestic rival IndiGo agreed to purchase 500 planes from Airbus.
With these confirmed orders, Naidu shared that there are “plans to expand and grow into Asia-Pacific”, and tap on markets within a “6.5-hour radius from India”, like Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand.
The industry, however, can expect some turbulent weather on the horizon.
“(The availability of) skilled human resources, in particular pilots, remain a concern, but airlines in India are taking proactive steps to establish their own academies to bridge the gap,” revealed Naidu.
Rising fuel prices, regulatory constraints, and airport capacities are also constant challenges as the industry looks to expand.
On the bright side, only “four per cent” of India’s population currently flies, which indicates “vast opportunities” for the aviation industry.
The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has also set a goal of reaching one billion air passengers by 2040, as stated in a Vision 2040 for the Civil Aviation Industry in India document.
Recognising the need to ensure infrastructure can accommodate the increase in passengers, the Indian government has outlined plans for an additional 26 airports, and will invest billions to construct new airports by 2025.