Domestic flights carried 117 million in India last year
Low fares, due to low fuel prices, have led to a jump in the number of Indians flying, but poor airport infrastructure remains a concern
India’s aviation sector achieved a new milestone in 2017 with the number of domestic flyers topping 100 million.
All up, 117 million flew within the country last year, up 17% from 99 million in 2016, Times of India reported.
Market leader IndiGo continued its dominance with a 39.6% market share followed by Jet Airways (17.8%), Air India (13.3%) and SpiceJet (13.2%).
Aviation analysts said low crude prices over past three to four years enabled them to offer low fares, which led to a big jump in the number of people flying.
However, there are concerns about the ability of airports to cope with the growth, as most big airports — notably Mumbai and Delhi — are often cram-packed.
Smaller airports, mostly managed by state-owned Airports Authority of India, have not kept pace with the rise in traffic. They are overcrowded also, with poorly maintained terminals and check-in counters, as well as flight delays.
The Indian government now wants to rope in private players for better management of these terminals. In exchange, they will be allowed to earn revenue from non-aeronautical activities such as food and beverage businesses, duty-free shops, leasing of terminal space, and running car rentals or parking.