After the economic reforms of 1991, India has emerged as a leader in the automobile sector, telecom sector, software sector and pharmaceutical sector. But India’s aviation sector has still not picked up pace despite all the efforts of the government. 140 million air tickets were sold in India in the year 2019 and these tickets were also bought by 35-40 million regular air travelers. According to this, if we see, only 4 percent of the population of India travels by air. These figures of India’s air travel make it stand in line with the flight ecosystem of African countries. India is developed and many times behind its neighbors in this matter.
Problems of Indian Aviation Sector
The biggest problem with the Indian aviation sector is its poor passenger ecosystem. As I have also mentioned in the above paragraph that only 4 percent of India’s population travels regularly by air. While half the population of India’s neighbors China, Indonesia travel by air, for Malaysia this figure is close to double. In Ireland, tickets are sold for 6 times the population. In Europe also this figure sits close to three times.
Before the economic reforms of PV Narasimha Rao’s government, only two state-run airlines Air India and Indian Airlines used to provide their services in India. After this, when the economic reform took place, new private companies also got a place in it. After this the number of passengers traveling by air increased and the flight of this aviation sector got wings. However, these reforms did not have the same effect that would make it competitive with respect to the foreign aviation industry.
grouping of companies
Individual airlines formed a business group for their own benefit. These companies started fixing flight rates. This led to the monopoly of these companies. Before the aviation sector reforms of 2003, only two companies ruled – Sahara Airlines and Jet Airways.
arbitrariness of government airports
Since an airport is needed for the airplane to take off and land. The airports in India are of government type only. These airports charge custom fees. Due to this, the flight companies are not able to remain in much profit. Due to this, passengers are not able to get tickets even at cheap rates.
Higher air fuel rates and stricter regulations
High air fuel rates are also a deterrent to the growth of this sector. Airlines start once but are unable to provide their services for a long time because they are not able to benefit due to expensive fuel. Apart from this, all kinds of regulatory frills also do not allow this sector to grow.
How to improve the aviation sector of India?
Schemes like Startup India in India have created a successful enterprise ecosystem. Today there are 101 unicorn startup companies in India. However, this company is from sectors like edutech, software solutions, electronic manufacturing, banking solutions. The aviation sector has not benefited much from such schemes.
How the aviation sector can give a successful business model through these schemes. The government should formulate a policy in this regard with the stakeholders and policy makers working in this area.
The UDAN scheme has given the common citizen the dream of flying, but yet the common citizen has not given his complete stamp on air travel as a travel option. The concerns of the stakeholders related to this scheme should be listened to and steps should be taken towards a successful air travel ecosystem. Apart from this, the rates of various taxes, duties should also be justified. The government should also modernize the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Apart from this, changes should also be made in the Indian Airplane Act, 1934 and the Indian Airplane Rules, 1937 according to the circumstances of today.