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Indian Aviation: how long will the boom last?

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 10 (UNI) As air traffic skyrockets in the country, new airlines are emerging at an unprecedented rate and crores of rupees are being earmarked for infrastructure improvements, prompting experts to wonder how long will the boom last.

Currently, India has 200 commercial aircraft. China has 750 and the United States more than 6,000. Even if only 10 per cent of India's 1.1 billion people fly once a year, it will mean a staggering 100 million plus passengers and a requirement for at least 2,000 planes.

Even the most conservative of forecasters believe air traffic will grow more than 20 per cent annually. In January, domestic airline passenger numbers rose by 40 per cent over the same month in 2005.

The explosive nature of Indian market had sparked a revolution.

New airlines are emerging at breakneck pace. In the past 12 months Indian carriers -- including government-owned Air India and Indian -- have ordered more than 370 jets and turboprops worth more than 20 billion dollars.

Spurred into action, the government has set a busy timetable to rebuild, modernise and restructure the airports and air traffic systems, which have been trapped in a 1950s time warp with obsolete equipment and facilities.

The minimum cost is anticipated to be 10 billion dollars and the aim is to do much of this within a five to seven-year timeline.

Amid this buoyancy and unparalleled development, there is a serious industry concern that the path to recuperation will be pitted with some big potholes.

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