Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Taking Flying to the Masses

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been working on making the aviation sector more accessible to the consumers who otherwise won’t choose to fly. By sweeping in economic factors and making services more affordable, the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016 is making matters easier and more convenient for the common man. With an emphasis on regional connectivity, the NCAP has the AAI as its supporting pillar. The AAI is acting as the nodal agency here, implementing regional connectivity through the Regional Connectivity Scheme. Considering the need to revive the un-served airports of the country, an increased scale of operations is being looked at; this will also help the authorities get private funding and further revive the airports.
The challenge that lies ahead for the AAI is to meet the requirements for the airlines, aircrafts and also passengers that the various airports cater to. According to figures, the last two years have witnessed resurgence of air traffic in India. The total number of aircraft movements in 2015-16 was 179,361, thereby registering a growth of 11.9 pc over the previous year. Total passenger movement stood at 223.62 million, a growth of 17.6 pc over the previous year and the total freight carried was 2,704,268 metric tonnes, an increase of 7 pc over the previous year. Average passenger load factors of all the scheduled domestic airlines have been 80 pc. The domestic passenger traffic has increased from 139 million in 2014-15 to 169 million in 2015-16, registering an impressive growth of 21.6 pc. The international passenger traffic has increased from 51 million in 2014-15 to 55 million, which implies a 7.7 pc growth over the previous year. Airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India have placed purchase orders for more than 800 aircrafts in the last one year.
While these figures seem encouraging, they are challenging at the same time. The overall available capacity (2015-16) at the Indian airports is 270 million passengers per annum (mppa), while the present demand (2015-16) is 223.44 mppa. Hence, at present the overall capacity is sufficient to cater to the demand. The projected requirement, based on the growth, will be 397 mppa by 2020-21, which requires a capacity addition of approximately 127 mppa. There are plans to augment the capacity of airports by 196.9 mppa in order to cater to the traffic up to 2024-25, which includes the AAI airports and the private airports.
28/03/17 MIG