India's Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh stated (03-May-2013) the rapidly expanding air transport network in India and opening up of the infrastructure to private sector participation have fuelled the growth of air traffic in India. Mr Singh further said the Indian government has envisaged an investment of USD12.1 billion in the airport sector during the country's 12th five year plan, (covering 2012 to 2017). USD9.3 billion in airport investment is expected to come from the private sector for construction of new airports, expansion, modernisation of existing airports and development of low cost airports to keep the tariff at its minimal at smaller airports, improvement in connecting infrastructure, development of air navigation services infrastructure.
- Traffic: According to Mr Singh, the Indian airport system is poised to handle 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers by 2020, making India the world's third largest aviation market and the aviation sector is "one of the prime movers for economic growth and a strategic element of employment generation, besides providing air transport for passengers and goods";
- New aircraft: Indian airlines are expected to add around 370 aircraft, worth USD27.5 billion, to their fleet by the year 2017. The commercial fleet is expected to expand from 400 to 1000 aircraft over the five year plan period;
- Air traffic management: The Indian government recently allowed flexible use of airspace by civil and military users, permitting them to use the available airspace on sharing basis;
- Future policy actions: To develop civil aviation in India and further facilitate the functioning of the sector, series of policy reform decisions are under consideration. These include getting aviation fuel declared as notified product & bringing transparency in its pricing; rationalisation of bilateral air service agreements with different countries, traffic entitlements on international routes to Indian carriers, creation of a separate Air Navigation Services Corporation from the Airports Authority of India to make it more effective, efficient & professional body, creation of an Indian Civil Aviation Authority in place of the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation and creation of a separate Indian Civil Aviation Security Force. [more - original PR]