The airline industry, which suffered heavy losses during the Covid pandemic, has returned to pre-Covid levels, with 3.8 lakh passengers per day, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In response to supplementary questions during Question Period, the minister stated that the civil aviation sector is on the mend and is only about 5-6 percent below pre-Covid levels.
“I am pleased to report to the House that prior to Covid, our maximum number of passengers in India per day was approximately four lakh, and we achieved a level of 3.83 lakh per day in December,” Scindia said.
The government has implemented airfare caps in the domestic sector, according to the minister, to prevent predatory pricing.
He claimed that controlling prices in the international sector was out of their hands.
“I am very confident that with the announcement of the opening of the international sector on March 27, when the summer schedules of all airlines are released, there will be an adequate supply of seats, both coming into and leaving India.”
The minister informed the House that high fuel prices had also contributed to the airlines’ heavy losses.
He stated that fuel accounts for approximately 37% of the cost of running an airline, which suffered a loss of approximately Rs 19,000 crore due to COVID last year.
According to him, the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has increased nearly 4.5 times, with 11 states charging VAT ranging from 10% to 30%.
"We pleaded with states to lower ATF taxes." Before I took over, we had 11 states that charged 1-5% VAT on ATF and 25 states that charged between 15% and 30%.
“We’ve now reversed that equation, and 12 states have reduced VAT from 25-30% to 1-4%.”
“There are now 23 states that charge VAT ranging from 1% to 4%, and only 11 states that charge VAT ranging from 15% to 30%,” the minister said.
Concerning job losses, Scindia stated that the industry was hit hard all over the world, but that it bounced back with an equal amount of growth once the Covid waves subsided.
According to the minister, civil aviation will become the backbone of transportation across the country.
The minister stated that he sees civil aviation becoming the backbone of transportation in the country and achieving rapid growth.
According to him, the CAGR for the aviation sector is close to 10.6 percent per year, and the government has allowed the domestic sector to operate at full capacity.
He added that by the time of the summer schedule, international flights can also operate at full capacity, and that it is up to the free market to choose their routes.
Stay tuned and updated with Aviationa2z.