Wings India 2020 reinstates India's potentially strong aviation ecosystem

The civil aviation show's inaugural session remarks that despite the panic-driven situation, let the long-term goals not be disarrayed and let a rebound be ensured.

March 13, 2020 By Ayushee Chaudhary Photo(s): By PIB, SP Guide Pubns

Claimed to be the largest civil aviation show in Asia, Wings India 2020 had a kick-start in Hyderabad on March 13. The inaugural session was attended by a surprisingly large number of audience, the number for which went way beyond the available seats in the hall. The session which was entitled on the theme of the show, 'Flying for All', saw many dignitaries.

Arvind Singh, Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI) opened the session with his welcome address. He ensured exciting times ahead at the show despite the corona virus threats, and congratulated the Telangana government and organisers for pulling this event. Adding about the Indian aviation market, he said that the airport capacity is going up, the passenger volume is increasing and in the future one can only expect more action to see the potential growth in the country.

Going further in the session, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India, Usha Padhee introduced the show and highlighted how the presence of so many people shows the commitment that everyone has for the growth of this sector. Adding how India is sure to become the epicenter of the aviation market in the future, she said that WINGS India 2020 is the right platform for us to come together and hence an active participation needs to be followed.

An outline of a knowledge paper - UDAN in partnership with Delloite and an Exhibitors' Directory were released.

Some of the key takeaways mentioned in the knowledge paper were:

  • India is the third largest domestic aviation market with 140 million passengers.
  • Domestic passenger traffic grew 18% over FY2014-FY2019
  • Some of the factors behind this growth include GDP growth, tourism growth, emergence of low-cost carrier model, airports capacity expansion, etc.

Further Anand Stanley, Civil Aviation Committee, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) addressed the gathering and strongly stated how mankind has never been so closely bonded with panic as it is right now. "In last about two decades, India has seen 14 times growth in domestic travel and over 8 times in international travel and multifold growth in multiple levels. So irrespective of the current situation with the COVID-19, irrespective of whatever happens, trips and travel per capita are expected to grow in India, especially with the ever expanding middle class here. The future is bright," said Stanley. He also stated the assurance that in the next three-four years, India will be the largest nation. "Today it is the third largest domestic market, in the next three years, it will overtake Germany and in the next ten years, it will takeover Japan," Anand added.

The vibrant Indian aviation ecosystem was also further highlighted by the special guest for the session, KT Rama Rao, Minister for Industries & Commerce, IT, Electronics & Communications and Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Government of Telangana. "There was every reason to cancel this event but it was even more important to have it for the industry and every step has been taken to ensure the measures are in place," he said. Further talking about the state of Telangana he pointed out that the state has witnessed a 14.9 percent GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2018-2019. "Aviation and aerospace is a thrust sector for us. We were the first state in the country to cut down VAT (Value Added Tax) on ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) from 16 percent to 1 percent, so we lead by example. We have three greenfield airports planned in the future, three brownfield airports and a chain of heliports. All this and more is in the effort to boost air transport in lines with the theme, 'Flying for All'. Further we are also aimed to become a hub for aircraft engine and MRO (Manufacturing, Repair & Overhaul) facilities. We are also actively discussing about reconsideration of GST (Goods and Services Tax) for MRO in the state. We also have the program, 'Medicine from the sky' and even drones and their usage in the future," said Rao. An aerospace university along with aerospace parks among other things are also planned in the times to come.

Concluding the session, Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, and Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Enterprises, remarked that this event is an example of striking a fine balance between driving the economic engine through this event and also maintain the health scenario pertaining to the current situation. "India will be number 1 not just because of the increasing air traffic, and availability of skills but also with schemes like UDAN. We now have flights to places like Hampi, and many more are only coming up and we foresee nation-wide connectivity like never before. Now that we are here, let the dialogue continue and let the conversations happen. Even if some people are not here, let's make the best use of the digital medium to put out what's there. As the future belongs to not the largest or the fastest but the most adaptable one. Don't be scared and anxious but be prepared and cautious," concluded Reddy.