Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 29
The COVID-19 pandemic might have hit the aviation sector badly, but the Economic Survey for 2020-21 has said that air passenger travel and aircraft movements are set to reach pre-COVID level in early 2021 as a result of swift and decisive interventions and effective measures put in place by the government.
The survey has also estimated that the fleet strength of airlines, which was 669 by the end of 2020 fiscal, will increase to 713 by the end of the current fiscal. Most of the airlines have planned to add more aircrafts into their fleet during the course of the year.
The survey noted that the aviation market of India is one of the fastest growing in the world as India’s domestic traffic has more than doubled from around 61 million in FY14 to around 137 million in FY20, a growth of over 14 percent per annum. “From the third largest domestic aviation market, it is expected to become the third largest overall (including domestic and international traffic) by the year FY25,” it added.
Despite the severe challenges posed by COVID-19, the Indian aviation industry has persevered through the crisis and demonstrated long-term resilience and full commitment to serve, the survey said.
India resumed scheduled domestic flights on May 25, 2020, after suspending them for a period of two months due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The air cargo took the lead in transporting life-critical supplies to the remotest corners of India under the Lifeline Udan initiative and also in seamlessly handling the imports of essential medical supplies with the amount carried by air increasing from under 5 lakh tonnes in April 2020 to over 2 lakh tonnes in November 2020 as per the data provided by the aviation regulator DGCA, it said.