New Delhi, July 15: Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha of Friday said that the demand in aviation sector in India is driven by “affordability”. He also asserted that the cost of long-distance air travel in the country is equivalent to auto-rickshaw fares. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the Gujarat Aviation Conclave 2017 which was organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

According to a report in The Indian Express, Sinha said, “Affordability is driving the demand. Flying continues to be very affordable because of the continued stability in the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices and because the aviation technology is moving quickly.”

He also added that some people say that the cost of flying is about Rs 5 per kilometer on a typical (Airbus) 320 or a (Boeing) 737. “For long distance travel, flying is extremely affordable and extremely cost-effective,” the report quotes him as saying.

Taking his address further, he compared the price of flying to price of travelling in air-conditioned coaches of Indian Railways. The minister also said that airline operators in India currently operate about 500 aircrafts and is planning to purchase ‘600 warplanes’ in the next 10 years.

In a separate development,Ashish Saraf, vice-president, industry development, strategic partnerships and offsets, Airbus Group India Pvt Ltd. said that they will deliver one aircraft per week to airline operators in India for the next 10 years.

“Airbus’s own global market forecast projects that India will be need around 1600 new passenger and freighter aircraft to meet the growing demand of the civil aviation sector by 2030,” Saraf was quoted by The Indian Express.

He also informed that critical components of an Airbus aircraft like flap-track beams which are safety critical and flight critical, safety evacuation slides and actuation systems are Made in India.

Notably, Amitabh Khosla, country director (India), International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that India was poised to emerge as the third largest air passenger market by 2023.