Hyderabad. India Aviation 2008, India’s first civil aviation air show, was inaugurated here Oct 15th by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel who said that India offered a $ 200-plus opportunity by 2020 for new aircraft and airport infrastructure.
Inaugurating the 4-day event at the city’s old Begumpet airport, he said that while there were some “temporary hurdles,” India needed to build modern airports and navigation systems, and acquire new aircraft to replace and augment the rapidly expanding air traffic within India and between India and abroad.
The inauguration was marked by an aerobatic display by the Indian Air Force (IAF) jets and helicopters, as well as the arrival of a new Airbus A 319 for Air India.
Mr Patel said that the world had already become a global village, and with India’s rising exports, foreign trade and back centre operations, India had to be a part of the global aviation growth, and integrate with the air traffic with the Europe, US and the rest of the world. This was also required to promote tourism in India, which was rather meager at present.
He pointed out that only three per cent of the Indian population traveled by air, and that if this figure even rose to 10 per cent, the civil aviation growth in the country could be phenomenal. Four years ago, there were just about 100 aircraft in the country, and today, their number had already grown to 350, indicating a clear promise towards the future.
As per a survey by Boeing and Airbus, India has a market for about 1000 aircraft in the coming years. The minister promised support and assistance to various carriers by helping lower fuel costs and some taxes, noting that these were trouble times.
Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhvavan Nambiar observed that India had already become one of the biggest aviation markets as passenger traf.c has grown from 48.8 million 2003-04 to 118 million in 2007-08.
“The current fleet replacement offers an opportunity of $80 billion while $30 billion are required for development of airport infrastructure by 2020,” he said.
Leading companies from the world over, and their top bosses, attended the event, marked also by a brief visit of the super jumbo, the Airbus A 380.
There was some panic though as some persons, including local cameramen, crossed the runway just before the massive aircraft touched down, possibly giving the worst palpitation to the traffic controllers and the aircraft pilots. It was later flown to Hyderabad’s new terminal, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) for night halt and departure.
The event played a significant role though for an alliance between India’s two leading private carriers, Kingfisher and Jet.
© India Strategic