Indian aviation market will be the third largest in the world in the next decade, overtaking the UK, an International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast released recently claimed. But given the infrastructure constraints plaguing the Indian aviation industry, experts said theyare not sure about how much of this growth will materialise.
IATA represents 265 airlines comprising 83% of the global air traffic. Globally, IATA expects 7.2 billion passengers to fly in 2035, which is almost double of the current 3.8 billion passenger traffic.Its 20-year forecast analysed fundamental drivers of travel demand to identify major air traffic trends for the next 20 years. Passenger demand was predicted by looking at factors like the emerging middle-class, diverging demographics and liberalisation of aviation markets.
But aviation experts reckon infrastructure constraint is a major hurdle as far as Indian aviation is concerned. A prime example of this is the congested Mumbai airport which handled 41 million passengers last fiscal. The airport's declared design capacity is 40 million passengers per year. "Though the airport capacity augmenta tion work is on, neither will the terminal building, nor will its single runway be able to catch up with the voracious appetite for air travel that Mumbai has," said a top official with an airline.
"There is no sign of a second airport. Navi Mumbai airport should have been ready three years ago, but the construction is yet to begin," he said. The IATA forecast, too, highlighted the role that infrastructure would play .Alexandre de Juniac, IATA 's director-general and CEO said: "It cannot be done by the industry alone. Planning for change requires governments, communities and the industry working together ."