The 4th International Exhibition & Conference on Civil Aviation, 'India Aviation 2014' discussed the huge untapped potential in the Indian aviation sector. A report...
The 4th International Exhibition & Conference on Civil Aviation, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), was held recently in Hyderabad. Ajit Singh, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, inaugurating the event, said that the rapidly expanding air transport network and opening of the airport infrastructure to private sector participation has fuelled the growth of air traffic in India. He mentioned that, currently, India is the 9th largest aviation market in the world handling 121 million domestic and 41 million international passengers with more than 85 international airlines operating to India and five Indian carriers connecting over 40 countries.
He pointed out that the Indian civil aviation industry has systematically evolved during the last 100 years of its existence. The sector is poised to handle 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers by 2020, making India the third largest aviation market in the world. Moreover, the commercial fleet size is expected to grow from 400 today to 1,000 aircraft by 2020.
In the welcome address, Sidharth Birla, President, FICCI, brought out the anomalies of a tough tax regime in the country and said, "State surcharges on aviation turbine fuel vary widely from 4 to 30 per cent making cost of ATF in India 60 per cent higher than international levels, though the solutions are obvious. Service Tax on air tickets and discriminatory tax policies for India MRO players must be addressed."
For enhancing regional air connectivity, it is imperative that financial viability of airports in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities should be taken care of. To enable this, he called upon to look at an 'Essential Air Services Fund' as a support mechanism. He further said significant opportunities exist for promoting aircraft and related manufacturing in the country that can be encouraged through tax incentives to aerospace industry and speedy time bound licensing procedures.
The Governor of Andhra Pradesh, ES Lakshmi Narasimhan, who was the Chief Guest in the function, said, "the civil aviation policy of Andhra Pradesh focuses on the development of non-hub airports across the province by cashing on the huge infrastructure base built over the years, in order to make them new magnets of investment for development and give a fillip to tourism."
Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, in his opening remarks, said that civil aviation industry in India is experiencing a new era of expansion driven by factors such as Low Cost Carriers (LCC), modern airports, FDI in domestic airlines, cutting-edge information technology interventions, growing emphasis on regional connectivity, increasing involvement of private participation under PPP, the policy of developing greenfield airports, etc. This surge has fuelled the demand for support services.
Francois Richer, Ambassador of France - the Guest Country, and Leocadia I. Zak, Director, US Trade and Development Agency, USA - the Partner Country for the show, also addressed the gathering on the occasion. As per the FICCI-KPMG 'Indian Aviation 2014' report launched at the event, the Indian civil aviation industry is on a high growth trajectory, albeit with minor hiccups. The Indian civil aviation industry is among the top 10 in the world with a size of around $16 billion. The report points out that development of air transportation services and socio-economic development are highly correlated. The report concludes that Indian aviation has a huge untapped potential and we need to recognise it and go for it.