The civil aviation sector is a critical driver of economic growth in India. The impact of the lockdown on the aviation sector pursuant to the outbreak of the COVID crisis has been severe. It will be our effort to introduce fundamental changes which will help the sector in the long run. I have no doubt that the sector will not only recover but resume robust growth.
India is likely to become the third largest domestic aviation market soon. The formulation of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 (NCAP) brought in a slew of reforms. The Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN) has enhanced air connectivity to the interiors of the country.
India has one of the youngest and upwardly mobile populations in the world. The aspiration for air travel is growing. The number of air trips may cross 1 billion by 2040. This will require over 300 airports and significant augmentation of India’s aircraft fleet quadrupling in the next decade or so.
Managing this growth in the post COVID-19 era will require a complete transformation. This will require a new vision, approach and strategy. Significant structural reforms will need to be undertaken to continue our quest for greater affordability, global and internal connectivity and sustainable growth. Domestic manufacturing of aerospace products and IT solutions will need to be encouraged. All these will lead to India’s emergence as a truly global aviation and aerospace hub.
Creating this growth trajectory will require generations of highly trained and motivated aviation professionals. The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University (RGNAU) can and should provide a venue for achieving this. We plan to make it a world class University for aviation education, skill building, research and thought leadership; with full support from the Government, the academia and the aviation and aerospace industry.
I wish the RGNAU leadership, faculty, staff and students all success.