“The total number of passengers carried in December 2022 stood at 150.1 lakh, which was 106.4 per cent of the pre-Covid level (average for 11 months from April 2019 to February 2020),” as per the Economic Survey 22-23. The civil aviation industry was highly impacted due to the advent of the pandemic, though the economic survey 2023 has shown the revitalisation of the sector in various terms.
According to the survey, “during November 2022, total air cargo tonnage stood at 2.5 lakh MT, which is 89 per cent of the pre-Covid levels.”
The survey anticipated a rebound in the sector with both passenger and cargo movement close to the pre-Covid-19 levels.
The figures of Economic Survey 22-23 have also been supported by the recent data of DGCA that reveals that there was a 50 per cent increase in air traffic in India compared to 2021. DGCA data stated that 123.2 million passengers travelled by air in India in 2022.
The Economic Survey also mentioned the crucial role of the schemes like UDAN that eventually expanded air connectivity in the regional area of the country. The survey stated, “Under UDAN the government has approved a budget of Rs 4500 crore for revival of existing unserved/ underserved airports/airstrips of the State governments.”
The survey also focused on the sustainability vision of the government in the aviation sector and noted that the government has also accorded 'in-principle' approval for the setting up of 21 greenfield airports across the country.
Apart from the increase in air traffic, regional connectivity and sustainability goals, the Indian aviation sector has matters like ATF (Air Turbine Fuel) and managing the increasing number of air travellers as airports are being built in tier- 2 and 3 cities at a faster pace.
From an optimistic perspective, the Economic Survey 2023 is looking up to the great potential of the sector owing to growing demand from the middle class, growth in population and tourism, higher disposable incomes, favourable demographics, and greater penetration of aviation infrastructure.