The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the Government of India to maximise the potential contribution of the aviation sector for the country’s development.

This potential can be maximised if India focuses on removing the infrastructure constraints that hinder growth and government policies that impose too much costs on the aviation industry.

Weak financial position of India’s airline industry has risked the stable development of connectivity, which is essential for modern and growing economies.

In addition, Indian carriers are facing the brunt of steeply increasing costs of fuel and declining value of the currency.

Fuel costs account for 34% of operating costs for the Indian airlines, as against the global average of 24%.

“India’s social and economic development needs airlines to be able to profitably accommodate growing demand.”

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “While it is easy to find Indian passengers who want to fly, it’s very difficult for airlines to make money in this market. India’s social and economic development needs airlines to be able to profitably accommodate growing demand.

“We must address infrastructure constraints that limit growth and government policies that deviate from global standards and drive up the cost of connectivity.”

IATA also urged the government to develop a comprehensive and strategic masterplan for India’s airports, upgrade airport processes using advanced technology that meets global standards, as well as improve the country’s competitiveness by revising its regulatory framework for the aviation sector, and focus on collaboration, among others.

Separately, in a new report on India’s aviation market, the association has predicted that the number of people travelled to/from/or within India is expected to treble to 520 million by 2037, from 158 million in 2017.

Currently, aviation supports 7.5 million jobs in India and contributes $30bn annually to the country’s GDP, which represents 1.5% of the economy.