The number of daily air passengers is expected to cross pre-Covid levels in the next two months, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Monday and also urged states to reduce taxes on jet fuel to boost the sector. the country’s air force.
During the pre-Covid period, domestic airlines carried about 4 lakh passengers a day and the number started to climb after the second wave, but fell again after Omicron infections emerged at the end of the l ‘last year.
Scindia said capacity and price caps were put in place to ensure there was “a bit of an isolated environment in which the industry can operate to ensure that all of our players survive and that they all get a decent market share and certain levels of income”.
Airlines were allowed to operate at full capacity from October 18, 2021.
“In November, December, we started to hit numbers of 3.8-3.9 lakh passengers per day. We were almost back to pre-Covid levels…with Omicron the number of travelers dropped…we are dropped to 1.6 lakh per day, so we had a contraction of around 65-70%,” the minister said.
Speaking at an event organized by the All India Management Association (AIMA), Scindia said traffic on Sunday was 3.5 lakh.
“All things being equal, in the next 2 months or so you should see us break through pre-Covid levels in terms of daily passengers… which will herald new demand, new capacity to come, both at airports and in airlines…” he said.
Last month, domestic airlines carried 64.08 lakh passengers, down 17.14 percent from the year-ago period. In January last year, traffic stood at 77.34 lakh passengers, according to data from aviation watchdog DGCA.
The country’s civil aviation sector has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the sector’s loss was approximately ₹19,000 crores in the last fiscal year ended March 2021.
As a result of the pandemic, domestic commercial flights have been suspended for two months starting March 25, 2020, while international commercial flights remain suspended since March 23, 2020. Currently, overseas flights are operated under bilateral air bubble agreements.
Scindia also urged states to reduce the value added tax (VAT) levied on jet fuel (ATF), which accounts for around 40% of an airline’s operational costs.
“In the past 5 months, 12 states and union territories have reduced VAT from 25-30% to 1-4%, including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka…,” he said. he said, adding that now 24 states and union territories have reduced VAT on kerosene.
Regarding drones, Scindia declared an investment of approximately ₹5,000 crore is under consideration in the manufacturing space while the drone services space is expected to see ₹30,000 crore revenue in 5-6 years.
The minister has set up nine advisory groups to discuss ways to strengthen various areas of the civil aviation sector, including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).
“We are developing a game plan and strategy for each of the sectors so that they become essential in pushing the civil aviation industry towards this ecosystem,” he added.
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