Hardeep Singh Puri: Air Travel will Return To Pre-COVID levels By End Of 2020

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said air travel in terms of passenger activity will return to pre-COVID levels as early as late December to early January period, while speaking at The Deccan Dialogue Event at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Emphasizing at the air travel recovery happening, he said, airlines started operating from May 25 after lockdown was announced, with mere 30,000 passengers per day, and just couple of days before Diwali airlines carried 2.25 lakh passengers per day.

At the scale they are operating, airlines have reached 70 per cent of capacity, and he is confident by late December or even sooner, 100 per cent capacity will be operational, reaching pre-covid levels.

He further added, he is committed to increasing aviation share to national GDP numbers, as 100 new airports will be added, this will give boost to domestic aviation for the next couple of years.

Calling the current aviation business models distorted, I want to get back aviation GDP into India. The value of air traffic between US and India is roughly $7 bn annually. How much do Indian carriers get of the traffic? A mere 17 per cent. It is not that the USA carriers get the remaining 83 per cent — not going to say who gets it. I see no reason why Indian flagship or private carriers can earn more money. These are distorted business models.”

He pointed out, current civil aviation functions are fully operational, and the need to strengthen safety protocols will be met, which will require professionals to set up new safety protocols and self-discipline.

Urging investors, he said, there are massive investment opportunities including airlines, airports, repair and overhaul, ground handling and maintenance in aviation Industry.

Puri expressed confidence in Indian economy, saying India will be able to position itself as an economic player in global supply chain, while Google, Amazon and Mudbadala has invested $ 20 billion in India in times of pandemic.

Emphasizing Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat, he said it will lead India stronger post-Covid.