India needs to enter aviation’s second century on a solid footing.
New Year’s Day marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of commercial aviation. On January 1, 1914, the first paying passenger on a scheduled airline flight was transported across Tampa Bay in Florida, US. What followed from the event — the development of the global aviation industry — changed our world.
The pace of growth reflected the thirst for connectivity. Commercial aviation started with one route, one plane, one passenger and one pilot. This year we expect some 3.3 billion passengers to board aircraft. That is a task equivalent to moving the entire population of India three times. They will fly safely on a fleet that exceeds 23,000 aircraft which operate on some 40,000 routes.
It is no understatement to say that aviation literally makes the economy move. The 50 million tonnes of air cargo that is carried annually accounts for more than a third of the value of the total world trade — some $6.4 trillion. The aviation industry itself supports 57 million jobs and a $2.2 trillion in economic activity.
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