Aviation in India

Aviation in India refers to the aviation industry of India. It can broadly be divided into military and civil aviation. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India is the fastest-growing aviation market. Bangalore is the aviation manufacturing hub in India and constitutes of about 65% of the share of manufacturing.[1]

The Government of India announced its draft National Civil Aviation Policy on 30 October 2015.

Civil aviation

Further information: Civil aviation in India

Civil aviation in India traces its origin back to 1911, when the first commercial civil aviation flight took off from Allahabad for Naini.

Air India is India's national flag carrier after merging with Indian (airline) in 2011[2] and plays a major role in connecting India with the rest of the world.[3] IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India, Spicejet and GoAir are the major carriers in order of their market share.[4] These airlines connect more than 80 cities across India and also operate overseas routes after the liberalisation of Indian aviation. Several other foreign airlines connect Indian cities with other major cities across the globe. However, a large section of country's air transport potential remains untapped, even though the Mumbai-Delhi air corridor was ranked 10th by Amadeus in 2012 among the world's busiest routes.[5][6]

Military aviation

The Indian Air Force, Indian Naval Air Arm and Army Aviation Corps are the air arms of the Indian armed forces. The Indian Air Force is the world's 4th largest air force with primary responsibility for securing Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire, and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II. Following the Indian Independence Act 1947, the new states of India and Pakistan became independent from the United Kingdom, the Royal Indian Air Force served the Dominion of India, with the prefix being dropped when India became a republic in 1950. Since independence, the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighbouring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. Apart from conflicts in the subcontinent, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, serves as the ex-officio Commander-in-Chief of the IAF. The Chief of Air Staff, an Air Chief Marshal (ACM), is a four-star commander and commands the Air Force. There is never more than one serving ACM in the IAF at any given time. The rank of Marshal of the Air Force has been conferred once, to Arjan Singh, by the President of India on 26 January 2002, and Singh became the first five-star rank-holding officer of the IAF and serves as its ceremonial chief.

In its publication the Military Balance 2010, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that the Indian Air Force has a strength of 127,000 active personnel. However, various reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates of its strength over the years. Flightglobal (Flight International) estimates there to be around 1,820 aircraft in service with the IAF: 905 combat planes, 595 fighters and 310 attackers.[7]

Operation Raahat

Operation Raahat was an operation of the Indian Armed Forces to evacuate Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from Yemen during the 2015 military intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies in that country during the Yemeni Crisis.[8] The evacuation by sea was started on 1 April 2015 from Aden port. The air evacuation was started by the Indian Air Force and Air India on 3 April 2015 from Sanaa. More than 4640 Indian citizens in Yemen were evacuated, along with 960 foreign nationals of 41 countries.[9] The air evacuation ended on 9 April 2015, while the evacuation by sea ended on 11 April 2015.[10][11][12]

Market Size

India is the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world having a potential of becoming third largest aviation market by 2020. It recorded an air traffic of 163 million passengers in 2013, estimated to be 60 million international passengers by 2017. The market is also estimated to have 800 aircraft by 2020.[13] In 2015, Boeing projected India's demand for aircraft to touch 1,740, valued at $240 billion, over the next 20 years in India. This would account for 4.3 per cent of global volumes. According to Airbus, India will be one of the top three aviation markets globally in the next 20 years. Airbus is expecting an annual growth rate of over 11 per cent for the domestic market in India over the next ten years, while the combined growth rate for domestic and international routes would also be more than 10 per cent.[14]

Civilian regulation

Ministry of Civil Aviation is responsible for civilian aviation and Ministry of Defence is responsible for the Indian Air Force.

Aviation Policy

The Government of India announced its draft National Civil Aviation Policy on 30 October 2015, seeking suggestions for the same.[15][16] This policy inter alia focusses on expanding the open sky agreements and create a Regional Connectivity Fund.[17]

The Government is planning to develop a sustainable air network in over 400 tier-2 cities across India with an estimated expenditure of 50 crore (US$7.4 million).[18]

National Civil Aviation Policy 2016

The Government of India released the National Civil Aviation Policy on 15 June 2016.The NCAP 2016 covers the broad policy areas, such as Regional connectivity, Safety, Air Transport Operations, 5/20 Requirement for International Operations, Bilateral traffic rights, Fiscal Support, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul, Air-cargo, Aeronautical 'Make in India'. The broad key features of the NCAP are :


There are a total of 22 airlines which are operational in India as of 2015.


Main article: Air India

The PSU in Aviation sector are Air India and Pawan Hans.


Listed companies in India's aviation sector are SpiceJet, IndiGo Airlines and Jet Airways.


Major private players are GoAir, Air Asia, and Vistara.


The country currently has 33 "non-operational" airports, according to the Airports Authority of India.[20]

Indira Gandhi International Airport

Indira Gandhi International Airport serves as the primary civilian aviation hub for the National Capital Region of Delhi, India. The airport, spread over an area of 5,106 acres (2,066 ha), is situated in Palam, 15 km (9.3 mi) south-west of the New Delhi railway station and 16 km (9.9 mi) from New Delhi city centre.[21] Named after Indira Gandhi, a former Prime Minister of India. It is the busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic and international traffic busiest airport in India since 2009. It is the second busiest airport in the country in terms of cargo traffic after Mumbai.[22] With the commencement of operations at Terminal 3 in 2010, it became India's and South Asia's largest aviation hub, with a current capacity of handling more than 40 million passengers. The planned expansion program will increase the airport's capacity to handle 100 million passengers by 2030.[23] In 2014, the airport handled a total of 39.752 million passengers, registering a 8.4% growth in traffic over the previous year and became the 12th busiest airports in Asia. As of 2015, the airport currently is the 26th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic.


The Gujarat government is planning to set up India's first civil aviation park in the state. The aviation park will have facilities such as air strips, training school, helipad and a flight simulator. The park will provide a platform for human resources and manufacturing activities related to the industry. It would be a one-stop destination for aerospace training, research and manufacturing.[24]

Social and Environmental Responsibility

Solar panels at the Cochin International Airport, the world's first airport fully powered by solar energy

Travel by air has significant environmental impacts. Construction of new airports may require land acquisition, and can be mired in controversies, as happened in the case of the Aranmula International Airport.

The world's first airport fully powered by solar energy is at Kochi.[25] Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi is a "carbon neutral" airport.[26]

See also


  1. Archived 27 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Fleet Details". Official webpage of Air India. Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  3. "Market Share of Scheduled Domestic Airlines" (PDF). DGCA. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  4. "Mumbai-Delhi 10th busiest air route". Times of India. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  5. "Mumbai airport's traffic control tower design bags award". Thaindian.com. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  6. Flightglobal - World Air Forces 2015 (PDF), Flightglobal.com
  7. "India begins evacuating citizens". The Hindu. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  8. Kumar, Hari (2015-04-10). "India Concludes Evacuation of Its Citizens From Yemen". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  9. "India evacuates 4,640 nationals, 960 others from Yemen". www.oneindia.com. 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  10. "1000 nationals from 41 countries: India's Yemen evacuation finally ends and the world is floored". Firstpost. 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-11.
  11. "India appreciates Pakistan's gesture of evacuating its nationals from Yemen". The Times of India. 2015-04-08. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  12. Aviation, Make in India
  13. India emerging biggest aircraft market
  14. "In aviation policy draft, India seeks to make air travel affordable", The Tribune, 30 October 2015
  15. "In aviation policy draft, government seeks to help everyone fly", The Indian Express, 30 October 2015
  16. "Draft National Civil Aviation Policy", gktoday.in, 1 November 2015
  17. "Air connectivity for tier-2 cities soon, says MoS Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma", India Today, 9 February 2016
  18. http://www.indiainfoline.com/article/news-top-story/govt-releases-national-civil-aviation-policy-impact-of-fdi-in-aviation-sector-116072200284_1.html
  19. Modi's bumbling aviation boom
  20. "eAIP India AD-2.1 VIDP". Aai.aero. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  21. "Delhi Airport busier than Mumbai by 40 flights a day". Indianexpress.com. 16 August 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  22. Grammaticas, Damian (9 May 2007). "Sky's the limit for India flight boom". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  23. "Gujarat to set up India's first civil aviation park", International Business Times, 8 February 2016
  24. http://cial.aero/Pressroom/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=381&news_status=A
  25. http://www.newdelhiairport.in/gmrs-delhi-airport-becomes-first-airport-in-asia-pacific-to-achieve-carbon-neutral-status.aspx

External links

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