Watch: Jyotiraditya Scindia blasts opposition for questioning Air India privatization
On Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia hit back and accused the UPA regime of burdening the national carrier with a huge debt burden. Scindia cited the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, the purchase of 111 new planes and the liberalization of bilateral rights as the reasons for the flag carrier’s downfall.
In response to applications for grants, 2022-23, for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, he said that the government had brought about a paradigm shift, a structural change in the sector over the past two years and that it is would focus on inclusion, access and affordability. to increase the demand among the common man. The total number of passengers traveled increased from 6.70 crore in 2013-14 to 14.50 crore in 2018-19. The number of aircraft also increased from 400 in 2013-2014 to 710 in 2018-2019.
According to DGCA data, 8.38 crore people traveled on domestic flights in 2021, compared to 6.3 crore in 2020 – the year that saw the Covid-19 outbreak.
Scindia said the aviation sector started looking after the second wave of Covid and the number of air travelers in the country increased to 3.90 lakh per day in November 2021 from 4.15 lakh per day in pre-Covid times.
“But, thanks to Omicron, it has come down to 1.60 lakh per day. I am happy to report that in the past seven days, we have come back to 3.82 lakh per day. There is hope for recovery and based on that, we project that by 2023-24, we will take the number of 40 crores,” he said.
Scindia said the competitiveness of the aviation sector can be compared to the AC-1 and AC-2 services of Indian Railways. Last year, 18.5 million people traveled in AC-1 and 2.
Until 2014, there were 74 airports in the country and over the past seven years, 66 new airports have been added. Thus, the total number of airports in the country now stands at 140.
“Our resolution is to increase that number to 220 by 2025,” Scindia said.