Saturday, October 07, 2023

The unstoppable ‘Udaan’ of India’s civil aviation

If we are to believe an aviation release, the domestic aviation industry witnessed a significant monthly growth rate of 23.13 per cent in August 2023 alone, with domestic passenger traffic increasing to 148.27 lakh. This upward trend in passenger growth reflects the industry's resilience and the sector recovering from the challenges posed by the global pandemic. According to the latest data analysis and aviation experts, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines from January to August 2023 reached 1,190.62 lakh, which is a huge increase. 38.27 per cent compared to the same period last year. It is worth noting that the overall cancellation rate in August 2023 was a mere 0.65 per cent.

During August 2023, scheduled domestic airlines received a total of 288 passenger-related complaints, a complaint rate of approximately 0.23 complaints per 10,000 passengers. This low complaint and cancellation rate is a testament to the industry's efforts to prioritise customer satisfaction and provide reliable and efficient services to passengers. Lauding the growth in the aviation sector, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia said this sustained growth is a testament to the collective efforts of airlines, airports and the Ministry of Civil Aviation in promoting safe, efficient and customer-centric aviation.

Today, India is the world's third-largest domestic civil aviation market after China and the US. The number of domestic passengers in the country has doubled from only 60 million in 2014 to about 145 million. There has also been a significant increase in international air passengers, from just 23 million to more than 35 million.  There is no doubt that the “UDAN Scheme” has democratised India's civil aviation by adding new first-time fliers. Apart from this, growth in the aviation sector is also providing employment and business opportunities to lakhs of people in small towns of the country. After the stupendous success of the UDAN Scheme, which has completed its highly successful 5 years since the launch of its first flight on 27 April 2017, now the Ministry has launched the 5th round of the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN. It aims to further enhance connectivity in remote and regional areas of the country and achieve last-mile connectivity. UDAN has significantly increased regional air connectivity in the last five years. There were 74 operational airports in 2014, now this number has increased to 141. 68 underserved destinations have also been added under the scheme, including 58 airports, 8 heliports and 2 water airports. With 425 new routes, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 states across the country. Now more than one crore passengers have taken advantage of this scheme.

Under the UDAN scheme, it is targeted to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country with 1000 routes to 220 destinations by 2026. 954 routes have already been allocated to connect 156 airports. Undoubtedly, the success of UDAN is a demonstration of the Modi government's commitment towards the vision of 'Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik', which is playing a vital role in the transformation of the aviation industry. The government expects India to welcome 40 crore passengers through civil aviation in the coming 3-4 years. Now, UDAN 5.0 is a new and stronger version of the old scheme.

07/10/2023 Rajesh Kumar Singh/Pioneer

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