SRINAGAR: InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (Indigo) President Aditya Ghosh suggested the J&K government to reduce aviation taxes and see the change taking place on the tourist footfalls. He said he has personal experience of certain destinations using this method to improve footfalls.
Ghosh, who heads India’s No 1, air carrier, delivered the keynote speech at the TAAI convention in Srinagar, the first since 1987. He was later honoured by the TAAI for his leadership capacities. Ghosh’s speech was the main take away from the inaugural ceremony as it offered a leader’s firsthand experience about where India’s aviation sector stands and how it can change fortunes.
“You currently levy 26.5 percent taxes on the aviation fuel, reduce it to one percent and see the change,” Ghosh suggested the Chief Minister, who was in the audience along with the Finance Minister Altaf Bukhari. “You will see even aircrafts flying to Srinagar for the sole reason to get refueled.” He said if there is no change in a few months, the state government is within its rights to roll the concession back.
Ghosh said Andhra Pradesh did it and it triggered a phenomenal change: 200 percent increase in the footfalls. Now, Tilangana is following the suit.
The IndiGo president said that he requires certain basics to improve so that the aviation industry takes Jammu and Kashmir seriously. He said there was no problem in keeping an aircraft in Srinagar for the night so that it can fly early and land late. The Goa airport is a naval base and it is operational 24 x7 for 365 days. “Why cannot Srinagar be the same?” he insisted.
Ghosh that though Jammu and Kashmir sector has witnessed almost 70 percent improvement in the aviation sector, it still falls behind in comparison to certain smaller destinations like Bubneshwar.
Offering a detailed account of how the aviation sector in operates in India, Ghosh said though India’s is the third biggest country in the world ranking in numbers of air travellers, it has still the least aircraft penetration. India, he said has only 550 aircrafts and it will take next ten years to reach 1000 aircraft level. “This is the even smallest number in comparison to South West airways in the US that has 7000 aircrafts and we are ten times behind in comparison to other countries,” he insisted.
Despite all these limitations, the air carriers in India fly passengers equalling to the population of Australia.
Offering an idea of how important the aviation industry is, Ghosh said it currently contributes around 9.4 percent to the GDP and creates 41 million jobs as being part of the overall tour and travel sector.
Ghosh said the load management is helping stabilize the fairs and India is one of the lowest in the world ranking as far as fairs are concerned. More and more people are flying and the numbers are going up with every passing day and it is emerging as a huge opportunity for the growth of aviation sector. But the most important thing is improving the infrastructure.
The IndiGo boss said that aviation sector does not need “temples of ego” in the name of airports. “We need airports that would cost Rs 50 to Rs 100 crore with basics so that all the smaller cities are connected. “We have airports in India to which nobody has flown so far and now we are trying connecting them all,” he said. “This is where we need partnerships (with the state) so that the public money goes into water, health and other basics.”