New Delhi, Apr 11 (PTI) India is on track to register 50 straight months of double-digit domestic air passenger growth in October 2018 as the near term outlook remains bright, global airlines’ grouping IATA said today.

IATA also said that it continues to expect India to surpass the UK as the world’s third largest origin-destination market by the mid-2020s.

One of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, India has been witnessing robust passenger growth for the past many months.

“The near-term outlook for domestic India passenger demand remains bright, with the market on track to make it 50 consecutive months of double-digit annual RPK (Revenue Passenger Kilometre) growth in October 2018.

“Moreover, ongoing potential for further catch-up growth in living standards is expected to continue to propel passenger demand growth well into the future,” IATA said in a report today.

RPK is a measure of passenger volumes.

For the 42nd month in a row, the country’s domestic aviation market recorded a double-digit growth at 22.9 per cent in February.

“This was nearly twice the pace of the next fastest growing market (China; 11.8 per cent) and well above its five-year average (15.6 per cent),” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

In 2017, India recorded the fastest RPK growth of 17.5 per cent for the third consecutive calendar year. “Such sustained rapid growth has seen the market overtake Australia, Japan, Brazil, and Russia in terms of RPKs flown in recent years,” it added.

According to the grouping, domestic India passenger demand is also driven in part by expansion in the local air network which is evident both in terms of a strong rise in the number of airports in operation and increase in the average frequency of flights on each route.

Both these factors, IATA said, would ultimately translate into time savings for passengers and therefore have similar stimulatory impacts on demand as reductions in airfares.

The government has initiated various measures, including the ambitious regional air connectivity scheme UDAN, to bolster the aviation sector. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.