An infographic on the government’s 48-month portal makes certain claims about the expansion of the aviation sector under the NDA government during the past four years, including one which states—for the first time—more people have travelled in aeroplanes than in AC trains.
The following claims were made in the infographic:
Let’s break down each of these claims and verify their authenticity.
Claim 1: India is now the third-largest aviation market
The “largest aviation market” is defined as having the largest traffic to, from and within a country as per the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the premier trade association of the world’s airlines.
According to CAPA (Centre for Aviation), as of April 2018, the top five largest domestic aviation markets are United States, China, India, Japan and Indonesia. Although India is definitely the world’s third largest domestic aviation market, it is not the third largest aviation market (globally).
According to IATA, India is projected to be in the top 3 largest aviation markets surpassing the UK by 2025.
CLAIM: India is now the third largest aviation market
FACT: India is the third-largest domestic aviation market but not the world’s third-largest aviation market. This claim is only PARTLY TRUE.
Claim 2: Passenger traffic growth is in the range of 18-20 per cent over the past three years
As per domestic traffic reports from 2014 to 2018, released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a table with the number of passengers carried during that period by domestic airlines has been compiled. The numbers are cumulative and so the value for the month of March is the number of people who have flown domestically between January and March of that year.
The annual passenger traffic growth has been calculated by using the domestic passengers’ data for each calendar year. This shows the percentage increase in passenger traffic from one year to the next at the end of the year.
We find that for the past three years, passenger air traffic has been growing at an average of 20 per cent and is in the range of 17-23 per cent.
CLAIM: Passenger traffic growth is in the range of 18-20 per cent over the past three years
FACT: The claim that passenger traffic growth has been between 18-20 per cent is TRUE.
Claim 3: More people have travelled in aeroplanes than in AC trains for the first time
To verify the claim about the number of people travelling by air being greater than those travelling by AC train, the passenger data provided in the annual reports of the DGCA were compared with data provided in the statistical statements of the Indian Railways.
The Indian Railways publishes an annual document titled ‘Statistical Statements’ that gives a breakup of the number of passengers that were carried in that year by the class in which they travelled. This data was aggregated to find the number of people who travelled by AC class in trains between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
Total passenger traffic of the AC class is calculated by including the traffic in AC First Class, AC Sleeper Class, AC 3 Tier & AC Chair Car. Total passenger traffic of Airlines is calculated by including both domestic & international passenger traffic.
CLAIM: More people have travelled in aeroplanes than in AC trains for the first time
FACT: We find that for the first time in 2016-17, unlike the previous years, the number of people who travelled by aeroplanes is higher than those who travelled in all AC class of trains. Thus, the claim is TRUE.
Claim 4: Domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017
As cited earlier, the data from DGCA indicates that, in 2017, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines was 1171.76 lakhs, or over 117 million.
CLAIM: Domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017
FACT: This claim is TRUE.
Claim 5: A National Civil Aviation Policy was unveiled in 2016 to transform the sector
In 2016, the National Civil Aviation Policy was unveiled, which aimed to expand the aviation sector and reduce the cost of air travel in order to make it more popular. It outlines specific goals such as to enable 30 crore domestic ticketing by 2022 and 50 crore by 2027.
Though the previous UPA government did not have an exclusive civil aviation policy, the civil aviation targets were part of the 12th Five Year plan documents.
CLAIM: A National Civil Aviation Policy was unveiled in 2016 to transform the sector.
FACT: While it is true that the National Civil Aviation Policy was unveiled in 2016, it is not clear what the government meant by transformation of the sector. Hence, this claim is UNVERIFIED.