India has around 125 airports operating at the moment and the government has plans to infuse fresh funds to the tune of over 12 billion U.S. dollars to take this number up to 250 by 2030. The Indira Gandhi International Airport in the nation’s capital, Delhi, was the busiest airport in terms of international as well as domestic passenger traffic in 2019. Amongst the international passengers that arrived into the south Asian country, those who came in from the Middle East and Africa made up more than half of the total. For international travel, a quarter travelled to countries in the Asia Pacific region. The largest chunk of outbound travel was to the Middle East region and the two most popular airlines for international travel were the Emirates and Etihad.
The Indian aviation industry functioned at a relatively low accident rate. There was just one scheduled commercial flight accident in 2017. During the same year, the industry recorded zero fatalitiesduring all of its scheduled commercial flights.
Freight movement to and from the country dropped by about 15 percent in 2019. The fall in freight traffic could be attributed to the trade disputes between the United States and China according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In July 2019, the global air freight market contracted by over three percent, which resulted in all major Indian airports recording negative growth in comparison to the previous year. The decline meant that there was a year-on-year decline in freight volume for the ninth consecutive month.
To strengthen the sector and revive growth, the Indian government took certain measures. A hundred percent FDI was allowed under the automatic route in scheduled and regional air transport service as well as domestic scheduled passenger airlines. Investments over 49 percent, however, would require government approval. The industry was also expected to witness major investments for development of new airports as well as navigation services. Digitization of airports was also a step adopted by the industry. Biometric systems, face technology and body scanner systems could make the internal operations more streamlined and rekindle the growth in passenger numbers. Nonetheless, matters such as taxes on turbine fuel and volatility in fuel prices could be some of the issues that might need to be addressed and dealt with to maintain a stronghold in the global aviation market.