The global grouping of airlines also said that India is poised to become the third largest aviation market in the next 10 years.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that as the world’s largest democracy with a population of more than 1.3 billion citizens, India has considerable potential for further aviation growth.
India’s domestic aviation sector has been registering a double-digit growth for more than two years and is also one of the fastest growing in the world.
“We expect India to overtake Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK within the next 10 years to become the world’s third largest air passenger market,” the grouping said in a report.
The IATA noted that the growth would be driven by a trebling in the proportion of middle-class households over the next 20 years, among other factors.
The challenges include making sure that “the right type of infrastructure is put into place, at the right time and in the right location to ensure that the demand can be met,” the IATA said.
It also emphasised the need to have the right policy environment that supports the sustainable growth of the industry.
The railways continue to be the country’s transportation lifeline, carrying 8.1 billion passengers each year – 58 times more than Indian airlines, the grouping said citing various data. “However, the number of rail users has increased by just 1 per cent per year since 2010, and the current level of usage is just 2.2 times the level of 1980.
“By contrast, the number of passengers flown by Indian airlines has more than doubled over the past seven years alone, and has now increased nearly 22-fold since 1980,” it added.