Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Air travel to reach pre-COVID level by early January: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi: Air travel in India will reach pre-COVID level by the end of current year or early January, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday. He also urged people to continue to maintain safety protocol with self-discipline. 

"We opened civil aviation on 25th May, a good two months and two days after we had completely locked down, with 30,000 passengers a day. Two or three days ago, just before Diwali, we carried 225,000 people," Puri said at the Deccan Dialogue organised by Indian School of Business (ISB) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs. 

"At a scale at which we are opening up in a calibrated manner, we have already reached 70 per cent capacity and I have asked my colleagues to look at 80 per cent. I am confident that by 31st December or soon thereafter...means a week or two thereafter, we will be back to pre-Covid levels," he added. 

Puri said he was committed to bring aviation GDP back to India. He was confident that the sector would get a boost in the next few years with the country getting 100 new airports and the fleet size reaching up to 2,000 from around 750 now.

"Our fleet size today should be around 750. I know airlines when they come across a pandemic like this, they try to curtail the size of their fleet orders. But, I can say with seven per cent penetration which means out of every 100 Indians, only seven fly and a 17 per cent rate of growth which we experienced pre-Covid at one time. We will move from 750, not to the 1,200 which everybody says, but to 2,000 aircraft. We will do it pretty quickly," he said.

17/11/20 India TV

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