Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh): Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said the aviation sector has seen an exponential growth in the last few years with the fleet size expanding from 400 aircraft in 2013 to 700 now and this number is likely to rise up to 1,500 in five years.
Attending a summit here, Scindia launched UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) 5.2 programme for small aircraft, aimed at enhancing air connectivity to remote areas of the country, and a mobile application for chopper operators to seek approvals from government authorities.
The UDAN 5.2 programme and the HeliSewa app were launched by the minister in Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh while inaugurating the 5th Helicopter & Small Aircraft Summit (Heli Summit 2023) and three Flight Training Organizations (FTOs).
'Travel Facilities Being Made Available To People Living In Remote Areas'
"We today started UDAN 5.2 programme for small aircraft. We have awarded 22 routes, which underlines the fact that air travel facilities are being made available to citizens living in remote areas under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Scindia said at the event.
Speaking about HeliSewa, the minister said it is a single window service platform for helicopter operators who will be able to get all approvals from ATC (air traffic control) on mobile phone.
HeliSewa is an initiative of the Ministry of Civil Aviation under Digital India to create an ecosystem between helicopter operators and district authorities.
Scindia Inaugurated 3 FTOs
The Heli Summit 2023 was jointly organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in association with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, Pawan Hans Ltd and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The theme of the event was "Reaching the Last Mile: Regional Connectivity through Helicopters & Small Aircraft".
On the occasion, Scindia also inaugurated three FTOs in Khajuraho, a popular tourist town.
With this, the number of FTOs in Madhya Pradesh has gone up to six -- three in Khajuraho and one each in Indore, Sagar, and Guna.
Scindia, on the occasion, announced that a flight between Khajuraho and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh using a wide body aircraft will be launched soon.
"Khajuraho has a rich cultural heritage and it is our resolve to expand its air connectivity," he said.
'Aviation Sector Seeing Exponential Growth Under Modi Govt'
The minister said in the last nine years of the Modi government, the aviation sector has seen an exponential growth and it has also been democratised.
He said 148 airports, including nine heliports and two water aerodromes, have been developed during this period and this number will go up to 200 in the next four years.
"The fleet size has also registered a 75 per cent growth, from 400 aeroplanes in 2013 to 700 now. We are committed to increase this number to between 1,200 and 1,500 in the coming 4 to 5 years," he stated.
There were only 28 flying organizations in 2016, but their count has now increased to 57, said the minister.
Scindia said 1,135 commercial pilot licences were issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which is a record in itself. Of these, 731 were issued in just five months of 2023.
At the summit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pawan Hans and Jetserve for advancing the helicopter and small aircraft sector in India.