Staff Reporter

51 m domestic passengers in 2005-06

  • Much of the growth is on account of leisure travel
  • Modernisation has taken place at several airports

    KOCHI: In the next five years, domestic air traffic is set to grow by about 25 per cent annually and international traffic 15 per cent. In the first three months of the current fiscal, domestic traffic increased by 48 per cent on a year-on-year basis, said G.C. Daga, Director (Marketing), Indian Oil.

    He was speaking at the international aviation conference which began here on Thursday. Quoting a study by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, he said Indian airports handled 51 million domestic passengers and 22.4 million international passengers in 2005-06.

    The airports handled 25.74 million domestic passengers and 13.29 million international passengers in 1999-2000. However, cargo growth had been sporadic, probably owing to infrastructure constraints. Much of the growth in the domestic travel was on account of leisure travel. Smaller airports contributed a lot to the growth, he said.

    "Infrastructure acts as a force that can really drive economic growth to dizzier heights.

    The key to good infrastructure is ensuring use of low cost options, flexible maintenance, innovative leasing and efficient financing."

    In aviation business, the speed at which entrepreneurs were launching new airlines and bringing in world class operating standards in ticketing, fleet management and operating practices had not been adequately backed by infrastructure to support the growth.

    Nevertheless, airport modernisation had been taken up at several airports. By 2010, about $10 billion was expected to be spent on airport modernisation and related infrastructure creation in the country.

    An important derivative of widespread air travel was the extensive network of fuel supply infrastructure, which had now provided the platform for airlines to fly to locations hitherto considered remote, he said.

    In today's dynamic environment, customers had access to information and therefore, a wide range of choices.

    Their expectations too were increasing everyday.

    Creating a meaningful differentiation and a unique brand experience in such an environment would be a major challenge.

    He said the aviation fraternity would emerge stronger despite the challenges being faced by it today.