Will India become an aviation powerhouse?

With double-digit growth for a third consecutive year, India is now arguably the world’s fastest growing aviation market. India’s airport operators, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will all have their hands full in the coming decade to ensure airport infrastructure developments bridge the capacity constraints of India’s quest to become a global aviation powerhouse.

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India’s booming aviation market

During 2016-17, total aircraft movements were approximately 2 million, an increase of 14% over 2015-16. According to IATA, India may become the third largest aviation market by 2025.


Of India’s 24 international airports, just six joint venture airports made up 67.5% of all international passengers and 54.4% of all domestic passengers. Delhi and Mumbai alone handled 47% of international and 36% of domestic passengers. The air corridor between these two cities is also one of the busiest domestic air corridors in the world, with 47,462 departures in 2017.

JV International Airports

In addition to the fleet of 496 aircraft currently operating in India, another 900 aircraft purchases are already planned. Boeing estimates that India may order as many as 2,100 planes over the next 20 years.

Airport infrastructure developments

Government and private investment in India’s airport infrastructure developments is expected to be around US $25 billion in the next decade. The Indian government is constructing 18 greenfield airports estimated at over US $4.6 billion and initiated airport modernisation projects of over US $3 billion to improve India’s regional connectivity.

The regional connectivity scheme named UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik, loosely translating to “Let the common man fly”) will connect metropolitan areas such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad with 70 smaller cities, nearly half of which currently have no civilian flights. A total of 486 potential airports have been identified under the scheme.

With passenger traffic in India expected to reach 322 million during 2018-19, five new airports and large terminal projects at another 18 airports including Ahmedabad, Chennai and Jaipur, are planned for this year alone.

Applying international lessons learned

AAI’s plan to adopt a national strategy for airport infrastructure development projects will be crucial to getting the airports ready. The robust growth in air traffic is already causing capacity constraints and congestion at Indian airports. Capacity shortages in runway slots, parking bays and terminals will become a serious issue within the next few years.

At To70’s newly opened India office, we are excited about the challenge. We’ve been active in India since 2007 when we first did fast-time simulations for Mumbai Airport, and through work on diverse projects since, like the airport master plan, noise calculations and ADS-B performance monitoring at Delhi, we’ve seen India’s aviation growth first-hand. With our experience on international projects with our colleagues in The Hague and the combined knowledge of our offices around the globe, we look forward to bringing expert capacity and safety solutions from a local office. Our aim is an ideal combination of global best practices and lessons learned with quintessentially Indian applications to find what works best in India’s rapidly growing aviation industry.

About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.

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