India has witnessed a growth in number of air travellers due to liberal aviation policy and entry of small air carrier, and is likely to touch 400 million mark by 2020, Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in Jaipur on Sunday.
“With the entry of small carriers the number of middle class passengers and the aviation income enabled by liberal policy was increased. In 2013-14, the number of passengers recorded was 169 million, which showed six per cent growth in comparison to 2012-13,” the Minister said.
This growth is expected to rise above 400 million passengers by the year 2020, the Union Minister said. Today, India’s aviation was fastest growing market in the world, being the 10th largest, he said, adding it would be expected to the second Indian domestic travel market in the world with an immense potential in maintenance, repair, ground handling and capacity building in aviation sector.
Air connectivity to Bikaner will increase tourism for desert region: Aviation minister
Raju said air connectivity to Bikaner was bound to increase tourism in the sandy desert part of the state. On the suggestion of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the Civil Aviation Minister agreed to form a joint committee of the state and central government’s aviation officers to formulate a policy to expand air connectivity in Rajasthan.
Speaking on the occasion, Raje said Rajasthan needed smaller aircraft with a capacity of 30 to 70 passengers so that the state could be connected by air from different parts of the state and also to adjoining states Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana.
She said Bikaner would have soon air services from the new airport. She proposed that Rajasthan could be a better place for pilot training schools. Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation GM Siddeshwara and MoS for Chemical and Fertilizer Nihalchand were present on the occasion.