India's Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh expressed optimism about the future of aviation in the Asia Pacific region and India in particular. "The skies are not expected to clear any time soon and 2012 could prove to be equally challenging. As per the market estimates European airlines are going to be hit the hardest in 2012. It is expected that the Asia Pacific would provide the boost to the sector that it badly needs. This is expected to be led by expanding Indian and Chinese markets," he said. Mr Singh, as quoted by local media sources including IANS, Business Standard and PTI, said the aviation's centre of gravity was moving eastward, adding that India was offering enormous opportunities and potential for aviation companies worldwide. "In the last decade India has made tremendous strides in aviation with traffic carried by the domestic airlines growing nearly six fold from 13 million to around 60 million in 2011," he said. He also forecast that domestic passenger growth would continue at the rate of 9-10%. "India is the fastest growing civil aviation market in the world and by 2020 will be among the first three markets with about 420 million passengers being handled by the Indian airport system as against 140 million in 2010," he said. He continued, "Indian airspace will see nearly 3.2 million aircraft movements including over-flying, etc. This growth in India will also create exciting opportunities for the aerospace industry in the region".
15-Mar-2012 12:48 PM