Saturday 10 August 2019

Indian Aviation Sector

Indian Aviation Sector

#Introduction #Past #Present #future

Aviation Industry - Past , Present And Future.

Aviation in India, broadly divided into military and civil aviation, is the fastest-growing aviationmarket in the world (IATA data) and Bangalore with 65% national share is the largest aviationmanufacturing hub of India. The UDAN scheme is driving the growth of civil aviation connectivity and infrastructure in India.

Past Aspects

1910: The first Indian, or maybe even Asian, to have an airplane is the young Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, who has a keen interest in aviation. Singh sends his Chief Engineer to Eurpoe for a study with orders to buy three planes, including a Bleriot monoplane and Farman biplanes, which arrive in the Punjab later that year.

1911: Domestic commercial aviation is born in India when on February 18, Henri Piquet, flying a Humber biplane, carries mail from Allahabad to Naini Junction, some six miles away.

1927: The world’s first officially christened national airline’s, Britain’s Imperial Airways extends to Empire Routes to India, connecting India with the outside world for the first time through an air network. A de Havilland Hercules flies the Cairo-Basra-Karachi-Jodhpur-Delhi route. It is also the first domestic passenger flight to be operated in India. Passengers could be for the first time fly from Karachi to Jodhpur and to Delhi on Imperial Airways.

1929: Athe Aga Khan offers through the Royal Aero Club, a special prize of GBP500 for “a solo flight completed within six weeks from the date of starting. The prize will remain open for one year from January 1930. There were three contestants: an eager JRD Tata, Man Mohan Singh, a civil engineer graduating from Bristol who had learnt to fly in England, and Aspy Merwan Engineer (later the Chief of the Indian Air Force). The three men set out flying single-engine, light aeroplanes with simple instruments and without radio. Man Mohan Singh took off from Croydon airport, south of London, in a Gypsy Moth which he called Miss India; Aspy Engineer followed the same route while JRD Tata, also in a Gypsy Moth, started his journey in the reverse direction. After Croydon, Man Mohan Singh flew on to Lympne, Le Bourget (Paris), Dijon, Marseillers, Rome, Naples, Catania, Tripoli and Sirle. From Gaza, he flew eastwards to India, with Engineer trailing a day behind. Singh finally landed at Drigh Road, Karachi on 12 May 1930, winning the historic air race. Engineer landed the next day and, though he came second, due to a technicality, was eventually declared the winner, which Singh accepted.

On February 10, JRD Tata is awarded India’s first pilot’s licence, Pilot Licence No.1 by Federation. Aeronautique International signed by Sir Victor Sasoon on behalf of the Aero Club of India and Burma.

1932: Urmila K Parikh becomes the first woman to get a pilot’s licence when she is given an licence by the Aero Club of India and Burma.

1932: JRD Tata launches India’s first scheduled airline, Tata Airlines, by piloting the first flight himself from Karachi to Mumbai via Ahmedabad on a single-engine. Puss Moth with a load of airmail. Nevill Vintcent, a former Royal Air Force pilot and JRD’s collegue, flies the plane to Chennai via Bellary thus completing the flight.

1933: In its first year of operation. Tata Airlines flies 160,000 miles, carries 155 passengers and 10.71 tonnes of mail. In the next few years, Tata Airlines continues to rely for its revenue on the mail contract with the Government of India for carriage of surcharged mail, including a considerable quantity of overseas mail brought to Karachi by Imperial Airways.

Tata Airlines launches its longest domestic flight: Mumbai to Trivandrum with a six-seater Miles Merlin.

1945: India’s second domestic airline, Deccan Airways, is founded Seventy-one per cent is owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad, 29 per cent by Tata Sons. Deccan Airways is the first of a bunch of new airlines to serve domestically in India. It flies in the Hyderabad region, using a fleet of 12 Douglas DC-3s. The first services began in July 1946.

1946: Tata Airlines changes its name to Air India. In 1947, Air India signs an agreement with the government of India to operate international services under a new company called Air India International Ltd. Established as a joint sector company with a capital of Rs 2 crore and a fleet of three Lockheed constellation aircraft. The new name is inaugurated on March 8, 1948. Three months later on June 8, Air India International inaugurated its international services with a weekly flight from Bomabay to London via Cairo and Geneva. The airline is nationalized in 1953.

1951: Prem Mathur becomes the first woman commercial pilot. She flies planes owned by Deccan Airways.

1953: Indian Airlines and Air India International are set up after legislation comes into force to nationalize the entire airline industry in India. Eight former independent domestic airlines; Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Air Lines, Indian National Airways, Air India, Air Services of India, are merged to from the domestic national carrier. Air India International takes over the international routes. Indian Airlines Corporation inherits a large fleet of 74 DC-3 Dakotas, 12 Vikings, 3 DC-4s and various smaller craft.

1956: Durba Banerjee is inducted as the first woman pilot of Indian Airlines.

1960: India enters the jet age when Air India begins operating its first Boeing 707-437. It also marks the year in which USA is first connected to India by an Indian airliner.

1984: Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma, a 35-year-old Indian Air Force pilot becomes the first Indian cosmonaut and the 138th man in space, when he spends eight days in space abroad Salyut 7.

1985: Captain Saudamini Deshmukh commands the first all-women crew flight on an Indian Airlines Fokker Friendship F-27 on the Calcutta-Silchar route. She also commands the first Boeing all-women crew flight on September 1989 on the Mumbai-Goa sector.

1989: Indian Airlines becomes one of the earliest airline in the world to induct the revolutionary fly-by-wire A320s made by France’s Airbus Industrie into its fleet. The airline’s first pure-jet was a Caravelle, inducted in 1964.

1990: East West Airlines becomes the first national level private airline to operate in the country after 37 years, after the government decided to end Indian Airlines’ monopoly over domestic civil aviation.

Capt Nivedita Bhasin of Indian Airlines at 26 becomes the youngest pilot in civil aviation history to command a jet aircraft when she pilots IC-492 on the Bombay-Aurangabad-Udaipur sector on January 1. Bhasin also becomes the country’s first woman check-pilot on an Airbus A300 aircraft.

Air India is commended in the Guinnes Book of World Records for the largest evacuation effort by a civil, when it flew over 111,000 people from Amman to Mumbai in 59 days, operating 488 flights just before the first Gulf War.

1992: The Indian Air Force (IAF) decided to recruit women pilots. It advertises for eight vacancies and receives 20,000 applications. The first pilots enter service in July 1994.

1997: A group of army aviation professionals gets together to set up Deccan Aviation, which will soon grow to become India’s largest privately owned helicopter charter company.

1998: Dr Kalpana Chawla becomes the first Indian-born woman to fly to space, as part of a NASA team.

1999: Flying Officer Gunjan Saxena, who was among the first women pilots in the IAF, becomes the first woman to fly in a Combat Zone when she takes part in air operations during the Kargil war.

2003: Air Deccan, India’s first ever budget airline begins operations on 25th August. The first flight is from Bangalore to Mangalore.

2004: On August 26, Air Deccan turns into the first truly national budget carrier with the launch of its A320 flights on the Delhi – Bangalore route.

Present Aspects

An overview of Aviation sector in India

India is one of the flourishing global aviation markets. As per Airport Authority of India (AAI) statistics, there are 127 airports in India which incorporates 13 international, 80 domestic, 28 civil and 7 custom airports. Moreover India has around 1091 registered aircrafts.

Over the years there has been steady growth in the number of private players establishing their business in India due to increasing liberalization and deregulation. Hence, at present aviation industry consist of three types of players namely, Full cost carriers, Low cost carriers (LCC) and other start-up airlines.

The aviation sector in India has registered an estimated increase in domestic passenger sector by 50% per annum in the recent years, while the growth in international passenger section is estimated as 25%. Experts foresee future growth in international cargo by 12%.

As per the prediction of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India in the coming decade will require 1,500 to 2,000 passenger aircrafts out of which 135 planes have already been added. It is also predicted that India's aircraft capacity will stand at 500-550.
In year 2015 , as estimated by the ministry the domestic market will exceed 60 million and the international traffic will achieve 20 million. And in 2020, Indian airports will be effective enough to support 100 million passengers, which would include 60 million domestic passengers. The quantity of cargo managed by the airport is estimated to decline in the range of 3.4 million tonnes per year.

List of Top aviation companies in India

Air Charter Services Pvt Ltd

Air Charter Services Pvt. Ltd. performs its business operations with private business aircrafts, executive and corporate air charters, helicopter tours, VIP charter flights, and photo and video flights. Its client list incorporates VIPs, corporate firms, tour co-ordinators, travel agents and air medical evacuation professionals. It provides services such as relief, VIP, air ambulance and privacy services. 

Air Charters India

Air Charter India is owned by the STIC Travel Group and has around 100 airplanes in India. It covers several international destinations with an unmatchable logistics support. The aviation company has 40 offices with a highly skilled manpower of above 1000 people. It offers services like heli-skiing, charter flights for pilgrimage in India, heli-sightseeing, corporate jets, executive jets, etc. Air Charter India provides airplanes such as helicopters, business aircrafts, aircrafts for corporates, individuals and group travelers.

Air India

National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) was the first Indian aviation company which led the way for other companies in the aviation sector. It was initiated before the India gained its independence. Later it collaborated with Indian Airlines and gained the reputation of being the largest airline in South Asian airline. Air India Cargo, Air India Express and Air India Regional are its subordinates in aviation market. It offers First class, Executive class and Economy class services and has codesharing pacts with companies like Air France, Austrian Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Astana, Emirates Airline, Air Mauritius, Kuwait Airways, etc. 

Aviation India

Aviation India provides services like cargo services, flight operation, air charter services, passenger services, freight control, advisory and consultancy, aircraft preservation and renovation, international flight operation, air supervision and helipad engineering, etc. The airlines has skilled workforce and offers total control and functional back-up to several international schedule / non-schedule operations.

Indian Airlines

Indian Airlines was inaugurated on 1st August, 1953 and in collaboration with its fully governed subordinate in aviation market Alliance Air, it takes pride in being recognized as one of the biggest regional airline systems in Asia. It has a fleet of 70 airplanes and covers 76 destinations, 58 Indian destinations and 18 foreign destinations. Globally it covers Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, Yangon, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

Deccan Aviation Ltd.

The aviation company has its presence in 8 places namely, Mumbai, Ranchi, Surat, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Katra, Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Delhi. It has 350 daily departures and covers 65 destinations in India. It offers the benefit of no-cost travel to infants, ticketing counters, lavish aircraft interiors and ticketing flexibility. 


Indigo is a utilitarian low-price domestic airline which offers feasible flying alternatives for millions. The airline was facilitated by the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) as the “Best Low-Fare Carrier in India for the year 2007”. Indigo has 120 daily departures and a fleet of 19 Airbus A320. The airline covers 17 destinations namely, Agartala, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Goa, Imphal, Kolkata, Mumbai, Vadodara, etc. 

Indian airlines have fallen on hard times, battered by soaring oil prices and a weak rupee in recent months.

They may be getting some relief with crude prices softening over the past few weeks, but there remain challenges for the sector in a fiercely competitive market, analysts say.

“These are difficult times and definitely it’s a rough patch,” says Mark Martin, the founder and chief executive of Martin Consulting, an aviation consultancy.

India’s aviation sector supports 7.5 million jobs directly and indirectly in the country and makes up 30 billion rupees (Dh1.56bn) of its gross domestic product, or 1.5 per cent of the economy, according to the International Air Transport Association.

There are seven major airlines that dominate the market, with three full-service companies including the debt-laden, state-owned Air India, and budget operators such as IndiGo and SpiceJet.

With so many airlines, there is rising competition, and as companies add more flights, it has become increasingly difficult to be profitable.

“We have this double whammy of declining yields and increasing costs,” says Binit Somaia, the South Asia director at Capa Centre for Aviation. “We’re seeing an unprecedented increase in capacity on domestic routes, increasing by about 20 per cent year-on-year. Trying to fill a 20 per cent additional capacity is likely to be difficult unless you reduce fares.”

The rise in fuel prices coupled with the depreciation of the rupee meant that the third quarter, which is traditionally a low season for India because of monsoon rains, was particularly difficult for Indian airlines

Future Aspects

Vision 2035: The Indian aviation sector is ready for a takeoff
India is set to displace United Kingdom as the third largest civil aviation market by 2025. Currently, only 5% of 1.3 billion Indians travel by air, and they make close to 200 million trips per year. This points to tremendous growth potential, however multiple challenges abound in the path towards achieving the ambitious goal of ensuring one billion trips per annum over the next 15-20 years.

According to data tabled in the Parliament on 2ndAugust 2018, of the 7,200 complaints against domestic air carriers received in the last 20 months, 2,233 were related to flight delays alone arising mostly due to congestion at airports. Most instructive was the government’s response in the Parliament on 9th August 2018, which revealed that out of the Rs 4,086 crore allocated for airport development and upgradation, the Airport Authority of India had spent only Rs 345.06 crores up to 30th June, 2018.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s proposed Vision 2035, is expected to provide a roadmap for realizing the aspirations of a country that is hungry to fly like never before. This blueprint aims to provide the necessary infrastructure required for the industry to grow unhindered. This requires de-congesting airports and airspace, as well as providing the right kind of expertise and investment in order to create an ecosystem that can support the future. With all this falling in place over time, the sector will create space and opportunity for private players to contribute with their expertise and grow along with.

Somu Mahalaxmi

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