Air travel, democratised in the contemporary world by technology, has created new opportunities for billions of people. In the wake of COVID-19, China has surpassed the US as the leading civil aviation market in the world.
This development comes in the backdrop of major cuts in air travel in the US, and a recovering Chinese aviation market post the loosening of their lockdown. These leading aviation markets are characterised by quality service, high flight punctuality rate, parallel development of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry to support domestic industry and tax incentives for airline operators, which give them a comparative edge.
The Indian civil aviation industry, although the third-largest domestic civil aviation market in the world, is plagued with policy and economic issues. Most of the existing operators are barely breaking even. Additionally, the shortage of a skilled aviation workforce results in expat hiring at higher wages, minimising the profit margins.
Further, high taxation on the already overpriced aviation turbine fuel (ATF), combined with the price-sensitive Indian market, pushes airlines into deep losses and makes it unsustainable for them to operate in the long run.