Thursday, October 31, 2013

India a land of emerging opportunities: Ajit Singh

WASHINGTON: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said that India is a land of emerging opportunities and the aviation scenario in the country is fast changing and poised for breaking boundaries and scaling new heights.

Considering the growth prospects of air traffic, potential for large scale acquisition of aircrafts by the airlines and substantial investment projections, Indian civil aviation market offers tremendous opportunities for US industries to invest in India, Singh said in his address to the India-US Aviation Summit.

\"Furthermore, the gap between potential and current air travel penetration which is currently 0.04 airstrips per capita per annum, highlights the huge potential for the air traffic growth in India, considering a relatively higher trajectory of economic growth coupled with necessary Government support,\" he said in his address to the three-day meeting which kicked-off in Washington yesterday.

Noting that over the past decade, civil aviation in India has been scripting a major success story, Singh said the government in tune with general policy of liberalisation has brought in positive initiatives to attract foreign direct investment and rope in private investments that have helped in releasing the latent potential of this sector and make it a key player in the nation\'s economic growth.

One of the most important initiatives in this direction is to allow 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment by foreign airlines in Indian carriers.

India, Singh said, has adopted liberal policies regarding bilateral air services agreement, partnerships and code- sharing. To facilitate the growth of MRO Business and to make it competitive, India has also announced several concessions.

Rapidly expanding air transport network and opening up of the airport infrastructure to private sector participation have fuelled the growth of the air traffic in India, he said.

India is currently the 9th largest aviation market handling 121 million domestic and 41 million international passengers with more than 85 international airlines operating to India and 5 Indian carriers connecting over 40 countries.

The Indian airport system is poised to handle 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers by 2020, making India the third largest aviation market, Singh said.

Moreover, it is estimated that commercial fleet size is expected to reach 1,000 aircraft worth $45 billion from 400 today by 2020.
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