When real estate tycoon Niranjan Hiranandani of the Hiranandani Group was asked during a seminar organied by Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) four years back to talk on “what needs to be done to bailout the Indian aviation industry”, the businessman was quick to reminisce his early days when he had to call someone in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) for cancelling and rescheduling of his air ticket.
“It used to be a huge task then for even trivial things like booking or cancelling an air ticket,” Niranandani said.
“The industry has certainly come a long way since the pre-liberalisation days. I can recollect during those days people would literally beg for getting plane seats, especially during emergency situations,” said Devesh Agarwal, a Bengaluru-based aviation expert and blogger.
Speaking to dna, Agarwal, a frequent flier, recounts as how when his grandfather took seriously ill during early 1990s, his father drove all the way to Chennai during the night (roughly about six hours) to catch flight next morning from Chennai.
“There were hardly three flights from Bangalore then.” he said. “Also, these fares then used to cost a bomb as a result of which it was away from reach of common man.”
Experts say the industry has since then come a long way with flights lined up every few hours on most major and non-major routes. With India’s GDP forecast to grow at around 7.5% in FY2017, aviation industry consultant CAPA expects double-digit traffic growth of around 8-10% for international and close to 15% for domestic sectors. This would result in international traffic increasing to 54-55 million passengers and domestic traffic to around 80 million. Domestic traffic could rise higher if airlines engage in extended periods of aggressive pricing. The number of fliers was about 7.27 million passengers in 1994-95. Eric Weddle Authentic Jersey