NEW DELHI: The aviation sector in India has been affected due to severe disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The estimated losses incurred by airlines and airports in India in the financial year 2020-21 is approximately Rs.19,564 crore and Rs. 5,116 crore respectively.
Due to the outbreak of COVID 19, scheduled domestic operations were suspended w.e.f. 25.03.2020 which were subsequently resumed in a calibrated manner w.e.f. 25.05.2020 with 33 percent of the capacity and fare capping (lower and upper limit on different sector) to ensure that airlines do not charge excessive fare. Evaluating the emerging scenario of the Covid-19 pandemic, the capacity restrictions have been relaxed w.e.f. 18.10.2021, and the domestic operations have been restored without any restrictions of the capacity.
Some of the other measures being taken by the Government to revive the civil aviation sector include the following:
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken up a development programme to spend around INR 25,000 crores in next five years for expansion and modification of existing terminals, new terminals, expansion or strengthening of existing runways, aprons, Airport Navigation Services (ANS), control towers, technical blocks etc.
Three Public Private Partnership (PPP) airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have undertaken major expansion plan to the tune of INR 30,000 Crores by 2025. Additionally, INR 36,000 Crores have been planned for investment in the development of new Greenfield airports across the country under PPP mode.
Government of India has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up of 21 Greenfield Airports across the country. So far, eight Greenfield airports namely, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala, Orvakal in Andhra Pradesh, Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh have been operationalized.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate has been reduced from 18% to 5% for domestic Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services.
A conducive aircraft leasing and financing environment has been enabled.
Improvement in air navigation infrastructure at Indian airports is being carried out.
The number of freighter aircraft deployed by Indian carriers has increased from 7 in 2018 to 28 in 2021. As a result the share of Indian carriers in international freighter movements to and from India increased from 2% to 19% over the last two years.
Under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), also known as the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) Scheme, as on 24 Nov 2021, 393 routes have commenced connecting 62 unserved and underserved airports, including 2 water aerodromes and 6 heliports. The Government of India has released over Rs. 2,062 crores for revival of unserved and underserved airports/heliports/waterdrome of State Government, PSUs and AAI etc since April 2017 to October 2021.
Ministry of Civil Aviation introduced a new mode of transportation i.e. seaplane operations from water aerodromes under UDAN-3. Till date a total of 14 water aerodromes have been identified in the states of Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep as under:
1.Sardar Sarovar Dam (Statue of Unity) in Gujarat
2.Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad 3.Shatrunjay Dam in Gujarat
4.Swaraj Dweep in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
5.(Havelock Island) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
6.Shaheed Dweep (Neill Island) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
7.Guwahati riverfront in Assam
8.Umrangso Reservoir in Assam
9.Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in Telangana
10.Prakasam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh
11.Minicoy in Lakshadweep Islands
12.Kavaratti in Lakshadweep Islands
14.Agatti in Lakshadweep Islands
28 sea plane routes have been awarded so far connecting the above-mentioned water aerodromes. The private entities that have won the seaplane routes are Spice Jet and Turbo Aviation. RCS flight operations from other water aerodromes will commence once these are ready for operations. The development of water aerodromes will now be taken up by Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW). A MoU in this regard has been signed between MoCA & MoPSW.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry Of Civil Aviation (Gen. (Dr) V. K.Singh Retd) in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.