India has recently unveiled its grandiose plans to modernise and futurise its air infrastructure at an unprecedented scale
Air travel has been undergoing a significant boom around the globe recently. But there is one particular country that has taken the explosion of demand in flying to another dimension.
According to current numbers, India has undergone the largest growth in aviation industry demand in history. Over the past three years, the country’s domestic air travel sector has registered a double-digit growth with January 2018, for instance, having an increase in passenger numbers by 18 per cent.
Now the country has decided to respond to the unprecedented demand by pledging to build 100 new airports across the land, and institutions have vowed to modernise the industry.
For example, Bengaluru has just announced that they will soon offer a paper-free travel as “your face will become your boarding pass”. On Wednesday the airport signed a contract in Lisbon, Portugal, to launch paperless biometric self-boarding technology meaning they will become the first airport in India to have such technology.
“Vision-Box’s state-of-the-art biometric technology, combined with its passenger flow platform will enable a seamless journey for our passengers, without obstacles, waiting lines or hassles, from registration to boarding,” said Bangalore International Airport Limited’s MD and CEO, Hari Marar.
The first implementation milestone will be completed in the first quarter of 2019, with Jet Airways, Air Asia and SpiceJet passengers as first users, the airport said in a statement.
Commuting by air taxis might soon be reality in Mumbai
It is not just intercity travel that could see significant changes in transportation in the near future. By 2023, the sky over Mumbai could be dominated by Uber’s air taxis that claim to reduce the city’s travel time 90 per cent.
“This is the type of urban mobility game changer that this kind of solution brings. We think that once we are able to do it at scale as we are able to drive fully into it with the cost that these VTOL (vertical take-off landing) vehicles produce, we can do it at a cost comparable to our Uber X cost per passenger mile basis”, global CEO of Uber Aviation Programs, Eric Allison, said.
The company will announce the first international city where UberAIR services will commence in the next six months. If Mumbai manages to be selected, the Uber’s aerial taxi services will launch its operation in five years.
The financial and social question marks
Despite its potential and an already strong position in the nation’s economy, India’s aviation industry is facing threats from the economic and social state of the country.
Currently, the industry now employs over 7.5 million people and represents 1.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. However, the current infrastructure is in a desperate need of improvement.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “While it is easy to find Indian passengers who want to fly, it’s very difficult for airlines to make money in this market. India’s social and economic development needs airlines to be able to profitably accommodate growing demand. We must address infrastructure constraints that limit growth and government policies that deviate from global standards and drive up the cost of connectivity.”
If the government manages to deliver its plans of adding 100 more airports to the land, India might overtake Germany, Japan, Spain and the UK and become the third largest air passenger market in the world, following China and the United States. With the visions presented above, the country is on the right path to becoming the world’s number one aviation superpower.