The Fast-Growing Indian Aviation Industry – What Next for India?

There have been many positive developments in the India’s fast-moving civil aviation sector. The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) has finally been put into place and India has emerged as the fastest growing aviation market in the world. Currently ranked ninth, India is predicted to rise to third largest within two to three years.

Passenger traffic has increased by 17.6 percent in 2015-16 and growth is being maintained in 2016-17, with traffic growing at 19.1 percent during the period April to November. According to AAI (Airports Authority of India), over the next two years, traffic is projected to grow at 14 percent per annum to reach 290 million by 2017-18.

This staggering growth has had a number impact on the numbers connected with the aviation industry in India:

  • Domestic passengers have risen from 81 million to over 300 million
  • Number of aircraft has risen from 430 to over 1400
  • Airports with scheduled operations have gone from 75 to over 150
  • Over 2 million jobs have been created (direct and indirect)
  • Nearly 50% of the incremental jobs will be semi-skilled–loaders, cleaners, drivers, cooks, packers, security etc.

During this period of unprecedented growth, regional airports and low-cost connectivity remain key areas of focus. AAI run 120 airports in India, catering to the domestic market, however at least 30 of these airports remain inactive. They need development to reach their potential. India could also face a capacity crisis without this development, the proposed construction of 50 new airports and an expansion of airport infrastructure over the next decade.

At the Airports in India Conference in New Delhi this month, our presentation, in partnership with ADC , looked at Key issues at 2nd Tier Indian airports. Efficient, integrated low-cost airports and simple, no frill terminals that would meet operational requirements of airports as well as airlines could well provide capacity to meet both current and future demand. In particular, approaching airport design and planning with a view to standardization through the country and expansion on a modular basis could future-proof the Indian aviation industry throughout its boom.

The presentation was very well received by delegates, which resulted in lots of interesting questions. It seemed that all attendees were keen to develop a strong, future-proofed airport infrastructure to benefit India’s population, aviation industry and economy.

Image Source: By Flickr user: By René Seifert (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons