The aviation ministry is targeting a five-fold
increase in passenger trips to one billion per annum in 15-20 years in view of
the huge growth opportunities the sector holds, Union Minister Jayant Sinha
said today.

The Minister of State for Civil Aviation said
that the government is working on steps such as developing new greenfield
airports and skilling manpower to achieve this target.

“A target of billion passenger trips in the
next 15 to 20 yrs is very realisable and is in fact a realistic target that we
should be looking for,” he said here at the AIMA event.

He also said that the billion passenger trips
would not come from aircraft alone but also from helicopters, sea planes and
passenger drones.

Many of these have still to be manufactured in
the country and it provides tremendous business opportunities to start and
develop these new technologies, he said.

Elaborating on passenger drones, Sinha said this
is a big industry and in the coming years, it is likely to touch a trillion
dollar mark.

“We in India have the opportunity to be a
leader in this. We are already working on drone regulations so we can set
standards, develop different drone technologies,” he said.

“Like we have made air travel affordable to
common people wearing ‘hawai chappals, similarly we can go from auto rickshaws
to air rickshaws, that is the opportunity,” he added.

Further the minister said that the billion
passenger trips would open tremendous opportunities for growth and investments
for businesses.

“In 2013, the the total number of passenger
trips was about 100 million. In 2017, we are going to get close to 200 million
passenger trips,” he said, adding that the total revenues of the airline
industry last year was be close to Rs 2 lakh crore.

Indian railways and the telecom sector also have
same level of revenues each, he said.

He said that today only 5 per cent of the 1.3
billion Indians travel by air.

Sinha said that this target would throw some
major challenges and the government is working on it.

Safety and security is the number one concern and
the ministry is working hard on this, he said, adding that “we are working
on a unified security architecture with CISF” to ensure that all large or
small airports have same level of high security.

To ensure safety of passengers, the ministry is
investing spending on flight inspectors, air traffic controllers and

He said land to build new greenfield airports is
also a challenge.

New airports are coming up in Navi Mumbai, Goa,
Pune and Jewar in western Uttar Pradesh.

He informed that passenger trips at the Delhi
airport stood at about 65 million currently and it would be doubled in the
coming years.

“We think to get one billion passenger
trips, we have to invest Rs 4 lakh crore. That is what experts are
saying,” he said.

On the job front, he said about 2 lakh people are
directly employed in the aviation industry and indirectly about 1.2

“This will quintuple. So we will have 6
million people working over the next few years,” he said.

He added that revenues in the sector would
increase significantly from Rs 2 lakh crore to Rs 8-10 trillion (Rs 8-10 lakh
crore) in the next 15-20 years.

Huge business opportunities will be created in
areas like logistics, cargo, airlines, airports and ground handling.