India, the new Eldorado of civil aviation


Air traffic controllers monitor the takeoff of a plane from Chennai International Airport, India, October 20, 2022.

The government is trumpeting it all the way. India can now boast of being the third largest civil aviation market in the world, behind the United States and China. Growth has been meteoric in the subcontinent. Over the past six years, domestic traffic has increased by 14.5% per year, while international passenger traffic has grown at an annual rate of 6.5%. And the sector, on the way to becoming the most dynamic on the planet, promises to continue its trajectory. According to Airbus forecasts, the number of passengers carried is expected to increase from 165 million in 2019 to 641 million in 2041.

Indian airports never seem to be full and the needs are huge. “Today, in a busy period, we are approaching the maximum operating capacities of certain airports”, underlines an observer of the sector on condition of anonymity. At the risk of overheating during peak hours.

India will also have to train 34,000 additional pilots and 45,000 technicians by 2040. Incidents of theft are also regularly in the news, in particular due to maintenance or training problems: cracked windshield forcing you to turn back path, bug in a radar system, collision between two planes narrowly avoided in the sky.

fierce competition

“We need to put in place the civil aviation infrastructure and capabilities that, by 2047, would be able to support a $20 billion economy (about 18.2 billion euros) »Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in March, referring to Narendra Modi’s government’s ambitious economic projections.

The government plans to invest 980 billion rupees, or about 11 billion euros, by 2025 to build and modernize the airports. Since Mr. Modi came to power in 2014, 73 additional airports have become operational as part of a government program, the objective of which is to develop connectivity between the smallest localities and large cities to make transport air accessible to all. The country now has 146 airports, a total that will be increased to 200 in the coming years.

Enough to arouse the appetite of foreign investors. In 2020, the French airport platform manager ADP acquired 49% of the capital of GMR Airports, a subsidiary of the Indian family construction group GMR. ADP is already in control of airports in Delhi, Hyderabad and Goa Mopa, as the government plans to privatize 25 more airports under a public-private partnership model.

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