Indian aviation has been tested by the pandemic but we have come out stronger: Vandana Aggarwal


Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Adviser, Ministry of Civil Aviation delivered important insights on how India’s aviation industry has been able to combat the pandemic because of its preparedness and resilience while addressing a webinar on Route to Recovery: India’s Aviation Flight Path to Vision 2040 organised by Kuehne+Nagel on the 20th of November.

The Senior Economic Adviser spoke about the growth of the Indian aviation industry and even the cargo arm amidst such unprecedented times.

While alluding to India’s status as the second-largest exporter for fruits and vegetables, she also shared that the demand for Indian fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products has been phenomenal during the COVID-19 period. She attributes one of the reasons of such growth to the presence of organic agricultural products that do not use GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) on edible crops.

“Under WTO’s Trade agreement, which is trade facilitation and action plan plus, we are ahead of the world on trade facilitation”, she expressed.

She also shared that India brought in reforms to improve MRO and thus India’s main MRO has been higher. There have also been new products into which MRO has entered, and overall, on a year-on-year basis it has been higher and this shows the confidence of the important players in India have on their engineering capabilities.

“For the domestic segment, we hope to achieve normalisation by 2021,” she said while referring to the world’s scepticism regarding the impact of the second and third waves of the pandemic and how India is confident about ensuring safe flying for its 1.2 billion people.

87% cargo has been normalised by the end of October. By November end or latest by December close, we will be able to normalize it completely.”

~ Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Adviser, Ministry of Civil Aviation

While talking about India’s preparedness for the logistics vaccine, the Senior Economic Adviser said that the industry was aiming to “be pre-planned and not struggle” for the herculean task that is anticipated.

“India’s aviation has been tested but our DNA remains intact”, she said while talking about how India has emerged as an “opportunity that the world has not been able to grasp”.

She stated that they hope the passenger traffic to jump back to pre-covid levels by 2021.

The opening remarks of the virtual discussion were steered by Eric Goedhart, Senior Vice President, Global Industry Champion Aerospace, Kuehne+Nagel who delivered eye-opening insights on India’s route to recovery  and how logistics and supply chain should be prepared for every disruption ahead.

We need to look below the iceberg: we need to work with logistics – not just in time – but also just in case.”

~ Eric Goedhart, Senior Vice President, Global Industry Champion Aerospace, Kuehne+Nagel

He also spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the industry and and shed light on the key dominators and what would bring forth supply chain reform in the coming days.

“India has been the home ground for OEMs and vendors and that will accelerate in the coming days.”

Mr Goedhart also talked about sustainability and how the industry is voraciously treading on the path to carbon neutrality.

“IATA wants to be carbon-neutral by 2050. We will be able to achieve that by 2030.” He seemed confident.

The event was further moderated by Ranjeet Sarai, Vice President Aviation and Aerospace, Asia Pacific, Kuehne+Nagel.

Among the panelists gracing the event, Arun Kashyap, EVP Engineering Spicejet Ltd spoke about the optimism for the days to come.

“Passenger side we still see some challenges but we are hopeful that there will be steady growth”

~Arun Kashyap, EVP Engineering Spicejet Ltd

Sisira Kanta Dash, SVP-Engineering, TATASIA Airlines Ltd spoke about how their organsation has been able to fight disruptions and also spoke about the recently-commenced bubble operations.

Anand Bhaskar, CEO, Airworks India Engineering Pvt. Ltd talking about business travel coming back to the scene.  “Business rebounding is something that is now being looked at, he said.

“Our priority after our employees was that we kept very close to our customers worldwide as well, finding innovative solutions for them, adapting to their needs and staying resilient.”

~ Ashmita Sethi, President and Country Head, Pratt & Whitney

Also present during the energy-packed discussion were Peer Rasmussen, Managing Director India, Kuehne+Nagel, Kishore Jayaraman, President, India and South Asia, Rolls Royce, Sisira Kanta Dash, SVP-Engineering, TATASIA Airlines Ltd.

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