The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for a renewed look at the results of Indian public-private partnership in airport privatization, a reduction in taxation and for India to join international efforts on sustainability for air transport. These will be key enablers of a vitally important industry to India to be an even bigger catalyst for social and economic development.

“Air transport contributes enormous value to India, stimulating growth and development with increasingly accessible air connectivity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“India’s air transport industry has been through tough times. While many Indian airlines are now posting profits, the sector is still in loss territory with many challenges. These include a massive debt burden, onerous regulations, expensive airport infrastructure and high taxes. Addressing these will bring huge social and economic benefits to India.”

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On the 21st of October, the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India has announced that the program meant to promote air travel between smaller cities would see first flights as early as January, 2017.
 

India’s air transport sector already supports 8 million jobs and contributes $72 billion in GDP. In IATA’s recently released 20-year air passenger forecast, India will displace the UK to be the third largest aviation market with 278 million passengers in 2026. In 2035, the horizon of IATA’s just-published 20-Year Passenger Forecast, IATA expects the Indian market to serve 442 million passengers.

Policy Framework: De Juniac congratulated India on publishing its first-ever Civil Aviation Policy which contains some encouraging elements, such as developments on open-skies, code-sharing and foreign direct investment (FDI).  In fact, allowing FDI of 100% in an Indian airline places India among the most progressive states in this respect. But, de Juniac also noted concerns including the mandating of hybrid till for the regulation of airport charges, and the plans for a levy to cross subsidize regional flights.

“I look forward to engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with the government on what needs to change once the policy has had time to ‘mature’,” said de Juniac.