EXPLAINED | Aviation Industry Flies Past Covid Turbulence, But Airlines Continue To Collapse


In the year 1911, French aviator Henri Peque flew a 15-minute exhibition flight that covered a distance of 6 miles, carrying 6,500 pieces of mail from Allahabad to Naini, marking it the beginning of the Indian Commercial Aviation industry. After two decades, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (also known as JRD Tata) got the contract of airmail service and in 1932 he established the Tata Airlines, which is now the flag carrier of India- Air India.

Today there are over 40 different airline carriers operating throughout the country with around 468 airports with availability of more than 690 commercial aircraft. In 2018, India became the second largest market for the commercial aviation with 18.6 per cent surge in the number of passengers flown as compared to 2017, followed by China with 11.7 per cent.

The aviation sector saw a booming rise after 2014, when the BJP government came to power. As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the industry saw a rise of 20.3 per cent from 2014-2015, 23.2 per cent from 2015-2016 and made a record when a total of 13.9 crore passengers flew in 2018.

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