Domestic passengers to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2023-2024: Scindia

To achieve this, the government will focus on “inclusion, access and affordability,” says Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in Lok Sabha

To achieve this, the government will focus on “inclusion, access and affordability,” says Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in Lok Sabha

The number of domestic passengers would surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2023-2024, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in the Lok Sabha.

“Pre-COVID-19 passenger throughput was 35 crore, down 66% to 11.5 crore. In 2023-2024 we will bring that number to 40 crore passengers,” he explained. To achieve this, the government would focus on “inclusion, access and affordability”.

To illustrate this, the Minister drew a comparison between air and rail passengers in 1st AC and 2nd AC class. He said while there were 14.5 crore air travelers, those traveling in first and second AC class were at 18.5 crore. But the average annual growth rate for aviation was 11%, while that for rail was 5.6%. “That shows that today this service [air travel] is a common man’s demand,” he remarked.

Privatization of six airports

Mr Scindia defended the recent privatization of six airports. He said that while the Airports Authority of India estimated profitability each year from the six airports was £5.50 billion, rental rates would see them earning £9.04 million a year – an increase of 64 %.

The Minister pointed out that privatizations have also been carried out under previous governments and £8.5m was privatized between 2004 and 2009 and £1.05m worth of assets were privatized between 2009 and 2014.

Under the Udan program, the government had revived 66 airports and launched over 400 routes, and since the launch in 2017, a total of 1.7,000 flights have carried 91,000 passengers, representing a 5% growth in non-metro airports led.

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