India a key aviation market; air travel demand must be robust: IATA

New Delhi: India is a key aviation market for the Asia-Pacific region as well as the rest of the world and is expected to see strong demand for air travel, global airline group IATA said on Tuesday as domestic air traffic of the country is approaching pre-COVID levels. .

After being significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s aviation sector is on the road to recovery and airlines are also beefing up their staff and expanding their routes to meet the growing travel demand.

On October 9, the daily number of domestic air passengers touched 4 lakh, approaching the pre-COVID level and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday described the trend as a “great sign.”

India’s civil aviation sector is poised to experience phenomenal growth in terms of passengers, aircraft and airports. The country is expected to have 40 million air travelers, including domestic and international, by 2027, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in August.

In an online briefing on Tuesday, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific, Philip Goh, said the Indian market is a “very important market and is already a massive contributor to some parts of the world.” .

“I can see many airlines starting, resuming or expanding their network to India. Without a doubt, a key market (India) for the region and the rest of the world,” he said.

According to him, the Indian market is huge and the demand should be quite robust as long as the economy of flights within and outside India does not change drastically.

“India as a market has unique factors like very high fuel prices because of taxes…but we expect India to be robust in terms of demand,” he added. .

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents about 290 airlines worldwide, including those from India.

On Monday, Scindia said the civil aviation sector was on course for full recovery. “…Indian civil aviation not only hit the 4,000 passenger per day mark but also hit the highest number ever since the pre-Covid 19 era! Well done,” he said. tweeted.

Along with Scindia’s tweet, Modi on Tuesday tweeted saying, “Great sign. Our goal is to further improve connectivity across India, which is important for ‘ease of living’ and economic progress”.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Icra said on Tuesday that the country’s domestic air traffic would have hit about 1.03 crore in September, higher than the 1.01 crore recorded in August.

Last month’s figure is around 46% higher than domestic passenger traffic in September 2021, but around 10% lower than pre-COVID levels, i.e. September 2019, according to the rating agency.

Regarding the overall aviation market in the Asia-Pacific region, IATA’s Philip Goh said momentum is strong even though there is an impact from restrictions in China.

There are economic headwinds for airlines with a tight labor market and high jet fuel prices. Additionally, geopolitical issues and inflation are impacting traveler confidence and demand, he noted.

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