Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha has said considering a strong underlined demand, India’s civil aviation sector will continue to grow 12-14 per cent a year and thus the government is planning for a billion trips annually .“If we are 200-250 million trips this year, we really have to think ahead and think of a billion trips and that is what we are thinking and that is what we are working towards,” said the Minister. He however said that there was need to unlock and make sure that all markets be it international, national, regional, remote, helicopter services, cargo and logistics, ground handling, drone industry and others work very well.“The demand for aviation services in India is very strong, the challenge for us from policy point of view has been to understand that each of these markets are differentiated,” said Sinha said at a conclave hosted by ASSOCHAM in Delhi .Differentiated policies and approaches were required and then government would work together with the industry to unlock these markets and enable them to flourish. The Minister blamed the policy paralysis during the previous regime as there was virtually no growth between 2012-13 and the beginning of 2014. “There was no capacity at all and part of that was because of Kingfisher going out of the system, so we had 2-3 years virtually of no growth, ”Sinha added. He also asked the industry to keep pointing out faults with Civil Aviation Ministry’s working to improve further and serve in a better way. “You have given us your direct and straight feedback and told us what is working and what is not that we have been able to address these issues, so please keep bringing us our defects, keep telling us what is wrong with us.” Speaking at the same ASSOCHAM conference, Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet, urged the government to bring down costs for aviation industry for it to take off. “Bringing down costs would help Indian airlines match up with their global counterparts.”He also said that it was an opportune time for India to garner major share of global aviation business in wake of US-China trade dispute. Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said the Ministry was aware of the challenges being faced by the sector and there was need to reduce costs both at the airports and as far as aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was concerned. “Our ministry is working on that, our ministry is working on creating airport infrastructure, creating an overall ecosystem where this growth rate is sustained, where we make sure that we prove to be the locomotive as far as global civil aviation is concerned.”He said while one of the biggest challenges being faced by the MoCA was that of airport infrastructure, the related challenge was from the skill side i.e., how to make sure that adequate number of skilled people is available for taking this growth forward.
“In the next five years, we would be investing Rs 1.5 lakh crore in airports, we would invest Rs three lakh crore in airline side and we are committed to make sure that this investment happens very speedily,” said the aviation secretary. Conceding that his ministry was aware of the challenges and difficulties that are brought about by a healthy competition, Choubey said “While the passenger load factors are very healthy. Choubey told the conference that Ministry of Civil Aviation along with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) would celebrate in September 50 months of continuous, uninterrupted, highest double digit growth in the world. “It is not easy to have achieved that, it is not easy to have achieved the kind of success during last few years, he added.