The domestic air traffic is expected to be back to the full pre-COVID-19 level by the summer schedule with the traffic seeing a sharp recovery from the July quarter onwards after the resumption of the services post Unlock 1.0, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.
Speaking at the ‘India Aircraft Leasing Summit’ at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan, Puri also said the government is not averse to tweaking the system to make India a centre for aircraft leasing for both domestic and international markets.
“Contrary to prophets of doom and gloom, we have not only been able to navigate the pandemic turbulence, (but) today in terms of domestic civil aviation, we are almost at the pre-COVID-19 level.
“If a mutation or variant of the virus comes in, by the time we open our summer schedule by April we will have our full pre-COVID-19 level of domestic traffic or even higher,” said Puri.
Stating that civil aviation is the critical driver of economic growth, he said that between 2013-14 and 2019-20, the country’s domestic traffic growth has been 14 per cent.
“The best year we had with just 7 per cent penetration, we had a growth rate of 17 per cent. But, on average, it comes at 14 per cent,” he said.
The minister said that barring the first quarter of 2020 (April-June), there has been a sharp recovery in passenger traffic from July onwards.