Civil Aviation Ministry officials said that there were about 400 aircraft in 2013 and in 2021-22, the number increased to 700. Airlines in India are going to add 15 per cent capacity or 100 to 110 aircraft per year and the aviation sector is looking at close to 1,200 aircraft by 2027.
Officials said that expansion of the fleet size of an airline is a commercial decision and therefore each airline decides induction of aircraft keeping in view commercial viability, traffic demand and its business plan.
Barring the Covid period, the aviation traffic has witnessed consistent growth. The all-India passenger growth as projected by the Airports Authority of India for the next few years is 371 million passengers in 2023-24 and 412 million in 2024-25.
Similarly, airport infrastructure has also recorded corresponding growth in the last few years. Officials said that the total number of airports has nearly doubled from 74 in 2014 to over 141 in 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the Mopa International Airport in Goa for which the foundation stone was laid in November 2016. Developed at a cost of around Rs 2,870 crore, the airport has been built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure.
Before this, Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar, the first Greenfield Airport of Arunachal Pradesh, was inaugurated in November, 2022.
Keeping in view the growth in aviation traffic, the government has accorded in-principle’ approval for setting up 21 Greenfield Airports across the country.
These 21 airports include Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura, Hassan and Shivamogga in Karnataka, Dabra (Gwalior) in Madhya Pradesh, Kushinagar and Noida (Jewar) in Uttar Pradesh, Dholera and Hirasar in Gujarat, Karaikal in Puducherry, Dagadarthi, Bhogapuram and Oravakal (Kurnool) in Andhra Pradesh, Durgapur in West Bengal, Pakyong in Sikkim, Kannur in Kerala and Donyi Polo, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh.
Out of these, many Greenfield airports including Durgapur, Shirdi, Kannur, Pakyong, Kalaburagi, Orvakal (Kurnool), Sindhudurg, Kushinagar and Donyi Polo, Itanagar and Mopa have been operationalised.
In keeping with the growth in the aircraft and passenger traffic, the aviation regulator has issued nearly 1100 commercial pilot licenses in 2022 as against 862 licenses in 2021. Officials said that there are 34 DGCA approved Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) operating at 52 bases in the country. Of these, IGRUA at Amethi (UP) is under the Central government, eight are under state governments and 25 are in the private sector.
Officials said that the government has been promoting and facilitating the manufacturing of aircraft, including a Regional Transport Aircraft, and associated equipment by public and private enterprises in India.
Hindustan-228 (Upgraded) civil aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is a 19 seater turbo prop aircraft suitable for regional connectivity. HAL has also signed a MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) for Design, Development and Certification of a 19 seater Light Transport Aircraft – SARAS MKII and subsequent production, marketing and lifestyle maintenance of the aircraft.