India’s aviation minister recently revealed his plans for developing aviation infrastructure in the country.
On Wednesday, India’s Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told Parliament in detail about some of his ministry’s plans. Among the things discussed was his vision for the aviation sector in India, including building new airports, flight schools, and dedicated cargo terminals.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia
India’s aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia explained the requests for grants for the civil aviation ministry for 2022-23, saying that the government has significant plans for the industry in the coming few years.
Domestic aviation market
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed that the expanding domestic aviation market in the country would need robust infrastructure and that his ministry plans to build 220 new airports by 2025 to fuel that growth. He also highlighted India’s growing air cargo industry, saying that cargo flights for perishable food items will be increased to 30%, with 133 new flights in the coming years.
To meet industry demands, his ministry is also looking to make 33 new domestic cargo terminals, 15 new flight training schools for pilots, boost focus on the drone sector, and create more jobs over the following few years.
The aviation industry is rapidly evolving in the country. While air travel remains out of reach for a massive chunk of the Indian population, the civil aviation minister believes that change is already underway, stating,
“Earlier just for big cities had airports. Today that has changed fully. This is the reason why the civil aviation industry has evolved as a key element of India’s economy. The part of employment generated in the industry is massive.”
The government’s UDAN scheme,
The government’s UDAN scheme, which is short for “Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik” and loosely translates to “flying made likely for the common citizen,” has been put in place specifically for this purpose. Through this initiative, the Indian government intends to build infrastructure and a culture of air travel for people in tier 2 and 3 cities by making flying cheaper and more accessible.
“Darbhanga is one of our big historical cities. It is associated with Maithili culture. The airstrip there was built before independence and a private airline, Darbhanga Aviation, operated flights there from 1950 to 1962. When there was the outbreak of Covid, in just nine months, 5.75 lakh people traveled from there.”
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He also recently commented that the central government is keen on building a new airport in Pune and is awaiting the state government’s proposal for an alternate site for the project.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation in India
The Ministry of Civil Aviation in India recently reached under the opposition’s scrutiny, which questioned the condition for its existence.
It was pointed out that Air India formed 60 to 95% of the civil aviation ministry’s funding since 2014. With the carrier now gone from the government’s management, there were proposals that the ministry is merged to start a “holistic ministry for transport.”
Minister Scindia answered by highlighting the work needed in the aviation sector in the years to come, defending the need for a separate ministry.
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