Looking forward to Indian carriers purchasing many more wide-bodied aircraft: Scindia
The Centre is looking forward to Indian airlines purchasing and leasing many more wide-bodied aircraft once the Indian aviation sector recuperates from the COVID-induced crisis, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Friday.
Scindia, while speaking at a conference of Public Affairs Forum of India, said Air India's successful sale to the Tata group is a testament of the belief of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this government that ''the private sector has an integral to play in making sure that service value proposition is there for all customers''.
''I think in many ways, this (privatisation) changes the long standing perception of the government in business,'' he added.
The minister said: ''Our national flagship carrier (Air India), over the last 10 years, due to the policies of the past governments, had really become a drag on the resources of the country.'' ''That divestment process was completed. The hand over is in process. I wish the new owners all success,'' he mentioned.
Scindia said there is a need to have a level playing field and break down of all the gatekeepers to allow proliferation of aviation sector players -- not only new players but also existing players that will augment capacity.
Stating that he does not want to put the cart before the horse, Scindia said once the normalisation happens, there should be expansion of capacities.
''And the expansion of capacities that I would like to see is not only for domestic traffic but also for international traffic. So, I am looking forward to our domestic airlines purchasing many more and leasing many more wide-bodied aircraft so that they can also travel abroad,'' he said.
''And these long-haul flights, which will shorten the gap between the RASK and the CASK, the revenue structure and the cost structure of the airline, is something that I am looking forward to,'' he stated.
RASK stands for revenue per available seat-kilometre and it is calculated by dividing the total revenue earned from a flight with the total number of seats and the distance travelled.
Similarly, CASK stands for cost per available seat-kilometre.
The minister said he is looking to the return of normalcy in the domestic aviation sector in the next couple of months.
''The fact that you had a very chequered past with a lot of airlines closing down and today we have a birth of two airlines taking place -- this is a very promising sign for the future,'' he added.
Jalan Kalrock Consortium, the winning bidder for the grounded airline Jet Airways, had said last month it will restart domestic operations by the first quarter of 2022 and short-haul international flights by the last quarter of the next year.
The minister said he does not think that any other sector in the industry has been hit as hard as the aviation sector by the coronavirus pandemic.
Scindia said there are three levers on which this industry should keep its focus on -- inclusion, access and affordability.
''It will be only a matter of time, in the next three to five years, the number of people travelling by air would be much higher than those travelling by train in coaches second AC or above,'' he mentioned.
The Centre's aim is to have one helipad in every district in India, he said while talking about the recently-launched helicopter policy.
The government's role is of constructive collaborator and not that of restrictive regulator for the aviation industry and that is why it has established nine advisory groups with the industry, he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)